10 Historic Female Inventors & the Inventions we can Thank Them for

August is Women’s Month and it’s Inventor’s Month, so it seemed like an excellent time to take a walk down memory lane and highlight some of our favourite female inventors. Back in the day, these ladies have blessed humanity with their inventive technologies.


1. Nancy Johnson – The first hand-operated ice cream maker (1943)

Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson was an ordinary American housewife tired of spending endless laborious hours to make just a small batch of ice cream. This invention drastically sped up the process and made it far easier and even fun to make the world’s most loved dessert. Hand-cranked ice cream makers are still in use to this day.


2. Grace Hopper – The first program linker (1944)

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist, US Navy Admiral, and the inventor of the first program linker. A program linker, or ‘compiler’, is a computer that translates written language into binary code.


3. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie – Monopoly (1904)

Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips was an American designer, actor, writer, and the original brain behind one of the most popular board games of all time: Monopoly! She originally patented it as the ‘Landlord’s Game'. The Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game for only $500, tweaked it a bit, renamed it. In 2018 it was estimated that over 250 million had been sold globally!


4. Maria Beasley – A life raft (1882)

Maria E. Beasley was an American entrepreneur and inventor of multiple patents including a foot warmer, an anti-derailment device for trains, and the barrel-hooping machine. But she is perhaps best known for the life raft, which has saved hundreds of thousands of lives from the sea’s watery clutches.


5. Dr Shirley Jackson – Research that led to the fax machine, fibre optics, and solar cells (1973)

Shirley Ann Jackson is an American physicist who did a lot of scientific research and groundwork, that assisted others in inventing; the fax machine, the touch-tone phone, fibre optic cells, and solar cells.


6. Katharine Burr Blodgett – Non-reflective glass (1938)

Katharine Burr Blodgett was an American physicist and chemist who bestowed upon the world non-reflective glass material. Nowadays this is used in the production of glasses, car shields, and computer screens. Thank you, Katharine


7. Mary Anderson – The first windshield wipers (1902)

Mary Elizabeth Anderson was a lady of many talents. She developed real estate, owned a ranch, and ... after driving in bad weather she thought there needed to be something to clean the glass with to improve visibility in wet conditions, and invented the first windshield wipers. Cadillac was the first to include it in their vehicles in 1922, and initially they were operated manually via twisting a lever.


8. Josephine Cochrane - The mechanical dishwasher (1886)

Hands up if you hate doing the dishes! Josephine Garis Cochrane was the first person to patent the mechanical dishwasher. She allegedly came up with the idea after she grew tired of servants chipping her heirloom china and received her first order from a hotel.


9. Jeanne Villepreux-Power - Glass aquarium (1832)

French marine biologist, Jeanne Villepreux-Power needed to create an environment where she could closely study marine life, view them clearly, and keep them alive and well. Her necessity caused her to invent the first glass aquarium.


10. Melitta Bentz - Coffee machine filters (1908)

While coffee pods are all the rage now, actual coffee machine filters were all thanks to Melitta Bentz. She was a German housewife who became increasing frustrated with the tedious coffee-making process and the challenges in taste that she experienced. She invented paper coffee filters and later went on to own her own coffee business. The Melitta Group is still going strong to this day.

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