It's Women's History Month and we're taking the time to study women's contributions to our everyday lives. Here are some important items that you may not have realized were invented by women.
1. Windshield Wipers
Although there were a few similar designs around the same time, American inventor Mary Anderson is most commonly credited with inventing the first operational windshield wiper for automobiles in 1903. Anderson's patented design featured wipers that were operated by a lever from inside the vehicle. Her design was found in many early car models and is similar to the windshield wipers that we still use today.
2. Automatic Dishwasher
Previous versions of the dishwasher featured hand cranks and gears, but were not very successful.
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3. Paper Bags
In 1868, Margaret E. Knight invented a machine that formed flat-bottomed brown paper bags like we see in stores today. As Knight was building an iron model of her machine which was needed to apply for a patent, one of the machine shop workers stole her design and patented the device himself. Knight successfully sued him and was awarded the patent in 1871.
Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, a flexible, bulletproof material. While working for DuPont, she was attempting to make a lightweight and strong fiber to be used in tires. Her chemistry background helped her to develop a solution that was five times stronger than steel when spun into fibers. She continued to develop the formula and made the fibers even stronger by heating them. Kevlar is now used as a material in more than 200 applications, such as sports equipment, ropes, and protective vests.
5. Computer Programs
Ada, Countess of Lovelace, is credited with inventing the first ever computer program. A brilliant mathematician, she created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Her work inspired others and helped to create the powerful computers that we have today.
It's obvious that women have contributed much to our past, and we can look forward to seeing even more amazing inventions from the young women in our lives today.