In 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman to receive a patent in the United States for her technique of weaving straw with silk. Of course, female inventors existed before this, but many did not yet have the ability to receive credit for their work.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting female contributions to the fields of science, technology and engineering. Check out this list of inventions you didn’t know were created by women.
Wi-fi and Bluetooth capabilities we know and love today were developed out of frequency-hopping technology developed by actress Hedy Lamarry in 1941. GPS technology, also relied on Hedy Lamarr’s innovations and is based in large part on mathematician Gladys West’s contributions.
One handed medical syringes, developed and patented by a nurse named Letitia Geer in 1896, were the basis for modern syringes used today to administer life saving medications. Previously medical professionals had been using syringes that required both hands to operate.
Mary Anderson is credited with developing windshield wipers in 1903, though her idea was refused by manufacturers and her patent on the idea expired before they became popular. It would be another 10 years before a similar device became the standard on cars.
It was an American computer scientist, mathematician, and United States Navy rear admiral named Grace Hopper who created the first all-electronic digital computer. Having worked on Harvard’s Mark I Computer, Hopper also invented a compiler that could translate written language into computer code, and was a member of the development team of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages.
Stephanie Kwolek created the fibers needed to create Kevlar in 1965 while searching for strong but lightweight plastics to use in car tires. The fibers are so strong, they’re bulletproof and can also be used in numerous other applications, such as bridge cables, canoes, and frying pans.
After attempting to wash her own fine china, socialite Josephine G. Cochrane invented the dishwasher. Finding her brief exposure to housework unpleasant, she resolved to build a machine that could wash the dishes for her.
Female inventors, computer scientists and engineers are — and always have been! — instrumental in developing everyday items we use to make our lives easier, happier and healthier. This Women’s History Month, we’re happy to celebrate their contributions. How are you celebrating Women’s History Month? Let us know in the comments!