Female Inventors Who Made History
In celebration of women all over the world this month, here are some women who left their mark on the world with their creative ingenuity.
The Fire Escape by Anna Connelly
Little is known of Anna Connelly’s life except that she began filing patents for small inventions from 1877. Her most notable invention was a patent she submitted for a fire escape bridge—an invention that became a precursor to modern-day fire escapes to today. Her patent was for a bridge type structure that will connect adjacent buildings at the roof line. Although her creation wasn’t patented until 1897, her model became part of many mandatory building safety codes across the United States.
Dishwasher by Josephine Cochrane
Cochrane and her husband William were socialites that often entertained guests at their home. Growing tired of her servants breaking her china due to harsh handling, she set out to find a way to save her china plates from constant chipping. She worked out a design after measuring the dishes and constructed wire compartments to fit plates, cups, and saucers, and placed these inside a wheel that laid flat within a copper boiler. The wheel turned, powered by a motor, and soapy water would squirt up over the dishes to clean them. Her invention was finished in 1886 and unfortunately, her husband had passed at this time.
Monopoly by Elizabeth Magie
Monopoly–originally called The Landlord’s Game–was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1903. Magie was a very unusual woman compared to most women in her era. She supported herself financially and did not marry until she was 44. She worked as a stenographer and a secretary, spending most of her leisure time creating a board game that expressed her strong political beliefs. Originally designed as a protest against the big monopolists of her time, the idea for Monopoly was stolen by a man named Charles Darrow and sold to Parker Brothers. The company eventually tracked down Magie but only offered her $500 for her invention.