22 Oktober 2010

Women Who Dared to Invent

Job, jobs, career

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As you sip your morning coffee you probably don’t give any thought as to how the actual process of coffee brewing came to be. If it wasn’t for a frustrated housewife in Dresden, Germany, you might have to brew your coffee by wrapping loose coffee grounds in a cloth bag and boil water around it. Suddenly you have a much better appreciation for Melitta Bentz’s invention.

Knowing there had to be a better way, she stuck some blotting paper in the bottom of a pot that she had poked holes in. Then she poured the water over it. This filtered out the bitter taste. It worked, and she started manufacturing her “coffemakers” and selling them at local fairs. They were a hit.

Other women felt the same frustration and started the invention process. Marion Donovan was a young mom who spent her days washing, bleaching and drying cloth baby diapers. She put together some padding and a show curtain and came up with a prototype. She took her product, “The Boater” around to manufacturers who all told her it would be too expensive to make and turned her down.

So she manufactured the product herself and sold them to department stores. Pretty soon the idea caught on. Moms went into the stores asking for the throwaway diaper. Mrs. Donovan sold her company for $1 million dollars and made moms around the world very happy.

Marie Curie was the only person to win two Nobel prizes. She was a scientist and an inventor. She invented a chemical process for extracting radioactive material from ore and she also discovered radium.

Anyone who has used a personal computer can thank Admiral Grace Murray Hopper for inventing the first computer compiler. The way software was written was changed. They no longer had to write time-consuming instructions for each new software package. She developed COBOL, which is the first user-friendly computer software program.

If you take your lunch to work in a brown paper bag you have Martha Knight to thank for it. She invented the machine that produced them. She was also the first woman to fight and win a patent suit after a man stole her design and put his name on it. He couldn’t imagine that a woman could create such a complex machine. She went on to invent several other machines and tools.

As more women are encouraged to invent, the list of women inventors grows. But still today less than 10% of patents belong to women. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.

Copyright (c) 2010 Julie Austin

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