Every March we celebrate a Women's History Month, by remembering women’s contributions to our society. Did you know that the dishwasher was invented by a woman? Or the first car heater was patented by a woman? As well, as the home security system was invented by a Black nurse together with her husband.
Some women have been overlooked by history and their contributions to society. This article is to celebrate some of the many female inventors that have come before us and contributed innovations that helped advance technology in their respective fields.
The women featured below are part of a list who have contributed some amazing inventions to the world. And these are just few examples! Women continue to be innovators and entrepreneurs across all fields, from arts and engineering, to politics and technology.
Home Security System
The first home security system was invented by a Black woman named Marie Van Brittan Brown. She was a nurse who lived in New York City with her husband, and came up with the idea for the system because she worked long hours during the day and wanted some peace of mind at night. She came up with a sliding camera that could capture images through four different peepholes in her door, TV monitors to display the camera images, two-way microphones that allowed her to talk with anyone outside her door, a remote to unlock the door from a distance and even a button to alert police if there was an emergency.
She created the security system after working long hours as an electronics technician, and often found herself coming home to their apartment and being by herself late at night. Her system uses a sliding camera that can capture images through four different peepholes in her door and TV monitors to display those images. It also has two-way microphones that allow to talk with anyone outside the door, a remote to unlock the door from a distance, and a button to alert police or security.
While her system is relatively basic in comparison to today’s security devices, Brown’s invention marked a significant breakthrough in the way society views home security. Her system brought technology that are used in everyday life.
Patricia E. Bath was an American physician, surgeon and inventor who developed a way to remove cataracts from the eyes that was faster, more accurate and less invasive than previous methods. She earned her first U.S. patent related to the procedure in 1988, and received four other U.S. patents related to her innovations during her lifetime, in addition to patents in Japan, Canada and Europe. Her work was ground-breaking, helping many people regain their vision after losing it due to cataracts.
In 1942, Bessie Virginia Blount, also known as Bessie Blount Griffin, entered the world of law enforcement. The United States was in the middle of World War II and many of the soldiers returning from battle were missing an arm or a leg. Due to her training as a nurse and physical therapist and possibly being the first Black woman to train at Scotland Yard in Document Division, she began working with these veterans as they rehabilitated in New York City’s Bronx Hospital (now part of BronxCare Health System). As part of her work there, Bessie used her craftiness to create a device that allowed those who had been injured while fighting in the war to feed themselves.
1886 in Shelbyville, Illinois, Josephine Cochran formed the company that would produce the first commercially successful dishwasher. She had a problem with her fine china plates chipping, so she invented a machine that could wash them for her. The result was the first commercial dishwasher, which made household chores more efficient by using water pressure to clean dishes instead of scrubbing them by hand. Cochrane sold most of her machines to restaurants and hotels since they were too expensive for most homes to buy.
A female engineer Margaret A. Wilcox was the first person to patent an automobile heater in Chicago. Wilcox’s 1893 design used heat from the car’s engine to keep drivers and passengers warm during their trips. Later engineers improved her idea by making the heat easier to regulate.
Wilcox’s other inventions included a combined clothes-and-dishwasher, which didn’t catch on in the same way.
MamaP is a woman founded and owned business. We believe in the empowerment through education and advocacy and that is why we proudly support the work of the American Association of University Women.
Let’s celebrate together the progress and accomplishments of American women throughout the history.