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Women Inventors

Women Inventors . By: Ping Chen W S 301 Fall 2000. The First Women Inventors. 1715- Sybil Masters, acknowledged by King George I as the inventor for “cleaning and curing Indian corn” Women could not own property, so the patent was issued to her husband, Thomas Masters (Macdonald 3).

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Women Inventors

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  1. Women Inventors By: Ping Chen W S 301 Fall 2000

  2. The First Women Inventors • 1715-Sybil Masters, acknowledged by King George I as the inventor for “cleaning and curing Indian corn” • Women could not own property, so the patent was issued to her husband, Thomas Masters (Macdonald 3). • Patent Act of 1790-offered women the same patenting privileges as men (Macdonald 4). • 1809-Mary Kies became the first woman to succeed in gaining a patent in her own name (Macdonald 3). • Women holding patents doubled the decade before the Civil War in 1861 (Macdonald 10). • According to the readings in Women’s Studies class, this is the period when women were confined by the “doctrine of separate spheres.” Their role in life was to tend to the children and the home.

  3. Mary Jane Montgomery-improved planking of iron or steel armored war vessels (Macdonald 15) Sarah Mather-improved her invention of the submarine telescope (Macdonald 15) Temperance P. Edson-”self inflator” for raising sunken vessels (Macdonald 15) Clevelander Sarah Mossman-designed a folding waterproof cover and neckpiece that could be attached to military caps (Macdonald 15) Martha Coston-improvement in pyrotechnic night signals (Fitzroy) During the Civil War Women were responsible for many inventions directly related to the Civil War.

  4. After the Civil WarWomen invented within the woman’s sphere. • Anna Baldwin-4 dairy-related patents, including the cow milker and her “hygienic glove milker” (Casey 3). • Mary Evard-”Reliance Cook Stove”, half for dry baking and the other half for moist (Macdonald 38). • Harriet Irwin built a six-sided house for oxygen efficiency. She was the first woman to hold a patent in architectural innovation (Casey 7,8). Harriet Irwin’s hexagonal house.

  5. Some Women Inventors Found Solutions To “Natural” Problems • Ancient Women’s inventions to catch the menstrual cycle: • Ancient women created tampons using soft moss, bandages of grass, vegetable fiber, and papyrus. • They made sanitary pads using buffalo skin. (Stanley 212)

  6. 19th-20th Centuries • Women Relieved themselves of discomfort during the menstrual period. • Sanitary napkins were cloth bandages held by the waistband and worn between the legs. (Macdonald 37) • Dress protectors, safety belts, catamenial sacks, monthly protectors, napkin belts (Stanley 214)

  7. Pads • During World War I, French army nurses noticed that wood-fiber wadding was much more absorbent than cotton wadding. Kotex Pads were born. (Stanley 215) • 1960’s and 1970’s—improvements led to adhesive pads without belts, “light-days” “Maxi-Pads”. • Billie J. Matthews-Improved pads that conform to body shape. (Stanley 216) • Procter and Gamble’s “Always Plus” offered pads that came in 3 lengths and at least 2 types of thickness for even better Protection.

  8. Tampons • Alicia Bay Laurel—Made a tampon by cutting cellulose kitchen sponge 3 1/2’’ X 4 3/4’’ wide into 4 strips • Sponge tampons lasted for 6 ¼’’ of heavy flow and can be reused after rinsing • Mid 1970’s—invention of the tampon with a string attached by Doris Moehrle. • Kimberly-Clark Corp.—Improved the tampon by inventing the tampon applicator, wrapper, a catemenial tampon, and an absorbent tampon. (Stanley 218-219)

  9. Anti-Fertility • Primitive women worldwide used grass, moss, sponges, and plant fiber wadding to black sperm. (Stanley 250) • Ancient Hebrew Women Invented mokh as a vaginal plug or cervical cap. (Stanley 251) • Early contraception methods included oils and gummy substances, such as honey. (Stanley 251) • Mary Ann Leeper—Invented the female condom. (Stanley 253)

  10. Oral Contraceptives • Many Women died from self abortions. • Poisons such as arsenic were used as contraceptive agents. • Margaret Sanger—”Women are willing to walk to the gates of death to control their fertility.” (Stanley 265 • Anna L. Palmer—Vaginal Syringes in 1879 • Elizabeth Holcombe—Vaginal Irrigator and urinal in 1881 Margaret Sanger

  11. Oral Contraceptives • Dr. Aletta Jacobs, W.P.J. Mensinga—vulcanized Rubber Diaphragm • The Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, founded by Margaret Sanger and her husband, developed contraceptive jelly. • Katharine Dexter McCormick—Contributed to the invention of the first birth Control Pill. (Stanley 273-275) Katharine Dexter McCormick

  12. Dress Reform • Women were confined by having to wear tight corsets to keep their slim figure (class notes) • Olivia Flynt—1876 patented “Flynt Waist” or “True Corset”, allowed the waist “natural circulation, perfect respiration, and freedom for every muscle.” (MacDonald 110) • Susan Taylor Converse—Patents for a body-covering combination union suit, skirt supporting corset, and a corset cover. (MacDonald 113)

  13. Dress Reform • Clara Clark: • Patent for her boneless and wireless “Combination Shoulder Brace Corset” (MacDonald 115) • Catherine Griswold: “Abdominal Corset” • Suspended Weight from the shoulders and prevented pressure on the spine or kidneys. (MacDonald 116)

  14. Women in Science • 1920 Dr Louise Pearce, co-inventor of the sleeping sickness serum (Mothers 120) • 1932 Hattie Elizabeth Alexander developed meningitis serum to treat influenza meningitis that caused 100% infant fatality. (Mothers 121-122) • 1948 Elizabeth Hazen and Rachel Brown developed antibiotic nystatin, the first safest fungicide. • Greatest biomedical breakthrough since the discovery of penicillin in 1928. (Mothers 124) Hazen Brown

  15. Nobel Prize Winners • Rosalyn Yalow-discovered radio –immuno-assay (RAI) by studying the reaction of insulin with antibodies • Presented to the world in 1959 (Dash 55) • RIA used in endocinology, virology (Dash 56)

  16. Nobel Prize Winners Barbara McClintock- -first woman to win the Nobel Prize alone in the field of genetics -in her observation and crossbreeding of corn, she discovered a mechanism called “transposition” (Dash89-91)

  17. Other Inventions by Women Fannie Farmer-inventor of the modern-day cookbook, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book • Believed that adults should develop good cooking habits • Sold 4 million copies (Vare & Ptacek 39-45)1 • Stephanie Louise Kwolek- invented the Kevlar aramid synthetic fiber used in bullet-proof vests (Bedi) • Bette Nesmith Graham-creator of Liquid Paper correction fluid (Vare & Ptacek 97-103)

  18. Other Inventions cont… • Lillian Gilbreth-in 1954, she was recognized for her accomplishments in engineering in the field of time and motion studies. • Her contributions increased production with greater efficiency in America (Fitzroy) • Beulah Henry • Vacuum ice cream freezer, Kiddie Klock, photocopier, first bobbin less sewing machine (inventors museum) • Ruth Handler-inventor of the Barbie Doll • Brought to market in 1959 • Now the biggest success story in the toy industry (Vare & Ptacek 125-133)

  19. Conclusion Women have come a long way despite all the obstacles they encountered along the way. Women inventors, especially have done so much for the world. Their ingenuity made the world a better place. THE END

  20. Works Cited Bedi, J.E. “The ‘Lady Edisons’-Women Inventors in the 20th Century.” Lemelson Center Invention Features: Women Inventors. 24 March 1999. http://www.si.edu/lemelson/centerpieces/ilives/womeninventors.html (10 Nov. 2000). “Beulah Henry.” Inventors Online Museum presents Beulah Henry Prolific Inventor. 1999. http://www.inventorsmuseum.com/Beulah Henry.htm/ (10 Nov. 2000). Casey, Susan. Women Invent! Chicago, Illinois 1997: 3. Dash, Joan. The Triumph of Discovery. Julian Messner, New Jersey 1991: 55-91. Fitzroy, Nancy. “It’s Time to Recognize the Contributions of Women Inventors.” USA Today v127i2644 (Jan. 1999): 66. Online. Expanded Academic ASAP. Article 53630968. Macdonald, Anne. Feminine Ingenuity. Ballantine Books, United States 1992: 3-116. Stanley, Autumn. Mothers and Daughters of Invention. Rutgers University Press, New Jersey 1995: 212-275. Vare, Ethlie &Ptacek, Greg. Mothers of Invention. William Morrow and Co., Inc., New York 1988: 120-124. Vare, Ethlie & Ptacek, Greg. Women Inventors & Their Discoveries. The Oliver Press, Inc., Minneapolis 1993: 39-133.

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