Love chocolate chip cookies and Wi-Fi and beer? And love beer better, when it is chilled? Thank a few women for it. Had it not been for them, you wouldn't have been roaring for beer.
When we think of inventors, the likes of Edison and Charles Babbage come to mind, with the exception of a few women like Marie Curie making it to the list. Don't mistake it for women lacking ingenuity, it's just that women have faced many hurdles in receiving the credit they deserve for their ideas. We may not be aware of it, but for some of the best inventions we are surrounded with, we have women to thank.
With Women's Day right around the corner, here's to the women who invented things we can't imagine our life without!
Beer was developed by ancient Mesopotamian women.
If you thought it's 'manly' to chug beer, thump the glass on the table and roar for another glass of beer, you might have missed out on this little knowledge - Beer historian Jane Peyton claims that ancient Mesopotamian women were the first to develop, sell, and even drink beer. Who exactly had this stroke of genius, no one really knows, because like they say, for most of inventions - they must have just forgotten to write down a woman's name.
2. Paper Bag
Margaret Knightwood invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the flat bottomed brown paper bags in 1868.
In 1868, Margaret Knightwood invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the flat bottomed brown paper bags. After a long legal battle with a fellow machinist, Charles Anan, who tried to steal Margaret Knightwood's work by putting forward the 'most popular' logic that such a brilliant invention could not possibly have been invented by a girl - we finally owe it to Margaret Knightwood for the convenient paperbag that comes handy just everywhere!
3. Computer software, COBOL
Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, who was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, invented the first software program and also coined the word 'bug'.
A rear admiral in the U.S. navy and also a computer scientist, it was Dr. Grace Murray Hopper who invented COBOL, “the first user-friendly business computer software program”. And just in case you were wondering how the word "bug" came to be used to describe a glitch in the computer system, it was she who coined it after finding out that an actual moth was causing trouble in her computer.
Kevlar, a very strong fibre, used in bullet proof jackets was developed by Stephanie Klowlek.
For those who do not know what Kevlar is, it is safe to say it is the boss behind most inventions. Lightweight and highly tensile, Kevlar is a fibre which is five times stronger than steel and has more than 200 other uses. The next time your bullet proof jacket takes a bullet for you, just know that Stephanie Klowlek saved you.
5. Ice Cream Freezer
Nancy Johnson invented and patented the ice cream freezer in 1843.
Nancy Johnson invented the ice cream freezer in 1843, patenting a design which is still used to the current day, even after the advent of electric ice cream makers. Imagine, had it not been for her, we would have been deprived of such delicious goodness. Thank you for making this world a much better place, Nancy Johnson.
6. Central Heating
Alice Parker developed the design for central heating systems.
Every time you feel the warmth right after walking into a building after hours of shivering in the cold outside, send a silent prayer to Alice Parker, who invented a system of gas-powered central heating in 1919. While her particular design was never built, it sure sparked the idea of using natural gas to heat a bigger area, and inspired the (future) central heating systems.
7. Wireless Transmission Technology
Hedy Lamarr co-invented a system of wireless communication which was used during WWII.
Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian actress, famous for her acting and beauty (oh-those-high-cheekbones), is often forgotten for co-inventing a system of wireless communication called “spread spectrum” to fight the Nazis during World War II. The radio technology, vital at the time, was also the foundation for modern WiFi and mobile phones.
8. The First Computer Program
Ada Lovelace wrote instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s.
Ada Lovelace, (also Lord Byron's daughter), was encouraged by her mother, who was a scientist, from a very early age to pursue mathematics. Ada worked with Charles Babbage at the University of London on his plans for an “analytic engine” and is considered to have written instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s.
Marie Van Brittan Brown's inventions are the basis for modern day CCTV systems.
In New York City, when Marie Van Brittan Brown observed that police were slow to respond to calls for help at times, she took matters into her own hands and devised the system for CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) security to help people ensure their security. Her inventions are the basis for modern day CCTV systems used at home/public places. Superwoman doubts, anyone?
10. The Modern Electric Refrigerator
Florence Parpart invented and patented her design for modern refrigerator.
Born in the Hoboken, New Jersey, very little is known about Florence Parpart. She was listed as a housewife in the United States Census for the majority of her life. In 1914, she recieved her second patent for the modern refrigerator (first being the electric street sweeper), rendering the icebox obsolete for those with access to electricity. Everytime you go for a chilled beer, you have two women to thank.
11. Life Raft
Maria Beasley invented life raft and also, a machine for making barrels.
One day in 1882, Maria Beasely looked out at the sea and said, "People should, like, stop dying in huge transportation disasters." She also invented a machine for making barrels which got her the riches, but in case you need to make an emergency landing in the sea, show some gratitude to Maria Beasley.
12. Fire Escape
In 1887, Anna Connelly invented the fire escape.
By the 19th century, apartment buildings were adding floors, multi-storey factories were being built, and public buildings were getting bigger. These buildings were often made of wood, so in a fire they burned quickly. In 1887, Anna Connelly invented the fire escape for people to have an easier exit if any disasters were caused by fire.
13. The Original Monopoly Board Game
Elizabeth Magie invented a board game and patented it in 1904. After 30 years, Charles Darrow rejiggered the board design and sold it to Parker Brothers as 'Monopoly'.
To spread the economic theory of Georgism by teaching players about the unfairness of land-grabbing, the disadvantages of renting, and the need for a single land value tax on owners, Elizabeth Magie invented a board game and patented it in 1904. After around 30 years later, Charles Darrow revamped the board design and sold it to Parker Brothers as 'Monopoly'. The company bought Magie's patent for the original game for $500 and without any royalties.
14. Car Heater
Margaret Wilcox laid down the design for car heaters and also the design for a combined clothes and dish water.
Everytime you travel in comfort, and warm your toes, you have Margaret Wilcox to thank who invented the design for car heaters in 1893. She also invented the design for a combined clothes and dish water - just in case some future inventor is reading this article.
15. Chocolate Chip Cookies
In 1930, chocolate chip cookies were accidentally invented by Ruth Wakefield when she ran out of baker's chocolate.
Back in 1930, one day, Ruth Wakefield was baking up a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies for her guests. The recipe called for melted chocolate, but as ran out of baker's chocolate, she took a Nestle chocolate bar, crumbled it into pieces and threw it into her batter, expecting the chocolate pieces to melt during baking. The chocolate pieces did not melt - it held onto its shape and thus, the chocolate chip cookie was born. What a beautiful (and necessary) accident!