10 Things You Never Knew Women Invented

As we celebrate women’s history month in March, it’s the perfect time to look at many of the contributions women have made to the world. Women have invented some pretty amazing things that have been used throughout the years. There are many things you may not have even guessed were made by a woman.

10 Things Invented by Women

Test your knowledge as we look at these ten inventions by women.

1. Dishwasher

In 1872, Josephine Cochran invented the first dishwasher design that used water pressure rather than scrubbers to get rid of debris. Other prototypes existed, but this was the first one to use that idea. Decades later, people are still grateful for this invention, especially when cleaning up after a crowd.

2. Globe

The next time your child looks at a globe, thank Ellen Fitz. Fitz was a tutor in Canada in 1875 when she designed a globe mount that could display the earth’s daily rotation in relation to the sun’s path by day, night, and throughout the year.


3. Fire Escape

Anna Connelly didn’t know she was going to save countless lives when she invented an external metal staircase in 1887. Tenement fires were much more deadly before Connelly’s invention.

Her idea also led to one of the first building codes in New York City which required residential buildings to have a second way to escape in case of emergency.

4. Medical Syringe

The one-handed medical syringes that we still use today were invented in 1899 by Letitia Geer. Before this, medical professionals had to give injections with syringes that required both hands.

Geer’s invention has made life easier for countless nurses and doctors throughout the decades.

5. Monopoly

Elizabeth Magie was an inventor and stenographer who created “The Landlord’s Game”. Its goal was to teach people about monopolies and unchecked capitalism.

She received a patent for the board game in 1904 and self-published it in 1906. Then in 1935, Charles Darrow, an unemployed heating salesman tweaked the game and struck gold by selling a copy of Magie’s game to the Parker Brothers under the name “Monopoly”. Magie sold her patent to the Parker Brothers for just $500 that same year with no royalties. 

6. Caller ID and Call-Waiting

Many of us don’t like surprises when we answer the phone. This is why caller ID was invented. During the 1970s, Shirley Ann Jackson, an award-winning theoretical physicist, made many contributions to the telecommunications field which led to the invention of caller ID and call-waiting. 

Jackson was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT in any field. In 2016, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Science, the highest honor for scientific achievement in the U.S.

7. Hydyne Rocket Fuel

Mary Sherman Morgan created hydyne rocket fuel in 1957 while she was a technical lead at North American Aviation’s Rocketdyne Division. Explorer I, the first satellite ever launched into orbit by the U.S. owed its success to Hydyne.

8. Wireless Transmission Technology

If you enjoy your WiFi, GPs, and Bluetooth, you have Hedy Lamarr to thank. In 1941, Lamarr created a frequency-hopping communication system that could guide torpedoes without being detected. This paved the way for the modern-day wireless transmission technology that we know today.

Fun fact: Lamarr was also a movie star!

9. Retractable Dog Leash

Mary A. Delaney patented the first retractable leading leash in 1908. It attached to the collar which helped to keep dogs under control while still giving them some room to roam.

10. Scotchgard

If you’ve saved a few fabrics due to Scotchgard, you have chemist Patsy Sherman to thank. In 1952, the 3M chemist discovered that when fluorochemical rubber spilled on a lab assistant’s shoe, it didn’t come off.

Without changing the color of the shoe, the stain was able to repel water, oil, and other liquids. Sherman and co-inventor called it Scotchgard, and the rest is history.

These are just a few of the many things that women have invented over the years. The next time you use your dishwasher or your WiFi, remember that you have a woman to thank!


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