Do you like beer? Can you imagine living without Wi-Fi? You have women to thank for it. It be true. When we talk of inventors, the first people who come to mind are men. Naturally, most people assume that with the exception of Madame Marie Curie, most big inventors were all men. But here are some cool inventions that men would never believe to be the work of women.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies: There is no doubt that many treasured recipes came about through accidental invention in the kitchen, but we must single out one of the most enduring — and delicious — of these recipes: the chocolate chip cookie. One day in 1930, Ruth Wakefield was baking up a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies for her guests. The recipe called for melted chocolate, but Wakefield had run 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. Instead, the chocolate held its shape, and the chocolate chip cookie was born.
- Wi-Fi: Hedy Lamarr created something that we can call as a revolution. Her invention of a secret communications system during World War II for radio-controlling torpedoes, employing “frequency hopping” technology, laid the technological foundations for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS. She also happened to be a world-famous film star.
- Kevlar: Stephanie Kwolek invented the Kevlar bulletproof vest. Lightweight, high-tensile and five times stronger than steel, a Kevlar will actually take a bullet for you. Stephanie accidentally invented it while trying to perfect a lighter fibre for car tires and earned a patent in 1966.
- Paper Bag: Margaret Knight didn’t invent the paper bag, but those first paper bags weren’t all that useful for carrying things. They were more like envelopes, so there was no way they’d become the grocery store staple that they are today. For that, we have to thank Knight. Knight realized that paper bags should have a square bottom; when weight was distributed across the base in this way, the bags could carry more things.
- Monopoly: Elizabeth Magie created The Landlord’s Game to spread the economic theory of Georgism—teaching players about the unfairness of land-grabbing, the disadvantages of renting, and the need for a single land value tax on owners. Fun stuff! Magie patented the board game in 1904 and self-published it in 1906. Nearly 30 years later, a man named Charles Darrow rejiggered the board design and message and sold it to Parker Brothers as Monopoly. The company bought Magie’s patent for the original game for $500 and no royalties.
- Beer: Guess what! Beer is totally a girl’s drink. Beer historian Jane Peyton claims that ancient Mesopotamian women were the first to develop, sell, and even drink beer. While it may be hard to pin down exactly who, thousands of years ago, “invented” the beer we know and love today, it’s safe to say that ancient women all over the world were sure as hell fermenting something. So next time you raise a glass, make a toast to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of brewing and beer!
- Ice cream Freezer: 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. All we can say is thank you Nancy Johnson.
- COBOL: Grace Murray was the third person to program the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944 and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language. She was one of those who popularised the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages. COBOL is primarily used in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments.
- The Modern Refrigerator: Almost every household across the globe has a refrigerator, but few of us know that Florence Parpart invented the modern version of the appliance in 1914. She won a patent for the refrigerator making the icebox obsolete for those with access to electricity. Parpart’s then fiancée was highly skilled in electrical circuitry and many believe he assisted in the design of the first prototype.
These are just a fraction of gazillions of inventions ever made by women and we thank them all, for our lives would not have been so awesome. So thank you so much and our heartiest wishes on this International Women’s Day.
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