As we approach International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some world-changing inventions by women – some of them may take you by surprise.
1. Monopoly, Elizabeth Magie
While the invention of Monopoly was credited to Charles Darrow (who sold the game to Parker Brothers board game makers), Elizabeth Magie’s invention, the Landlord’s game was the basis of the game. She was largely forgotten by history.
2. The fire escape, Anna Connelly
Anna Connelly invented the first steel exterior staircase, a revolutionary and cost effective way to make buildings safer.
3. The life raft, Maria Beasley
Maria Beasley held fourteen different patents, but one of the most crucial was her invention of the improved life raft, which was easily launched, fireproof and compact.
4. The refrigerator, Florence Parpart
Florence Parpart invented the electric refrigerator. She was a successful entrepreneur and marketed her own refrigerators, developed her own advertising campaigns, and managed the production of the refrigerators.
5. Spray-on skin, Professor Fiona Wood
One of our own home-grown inventors is Professor Fiona Wood, a plastic surgeon who patented her spray-on skin technique. The technique was crucial to the survival of 28 burns victims from the 2002 Bali bombings.
6. The computer algorithm, Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace was ahead of her time. In 1842, she wrote what many consider the first computer program – an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine.
7. Telecommunications, Dr Shirley Jackson
Dr Shirley Jackson is responsible for many advances in telecommunications, and conducted breakthrough scientific research that allowed others to create inventions such as the portable fax, fibre optic cables, solar cells and more.
8. CCTV, Marie Van Brittan Brown
Police were slow to respond to emergencies in her neighbourhood, so Marie and her husband invented a close-circuit television system to monitor the home.
9. Chocolate chip cookies, Ruth Wakefield
While she was making cookies, Ruth Wakefield realises she was out of baking chocolate. She broke up pieces of a chocolate bar and mixed them in to the mixture thinking they would melt – but they didn’t. Thank goodness for that!
10. Beer, women
Beer brewing began in Mesopotamia where women were the only ones allowed to brew and run taverns, and in almost all ancient societies, beer was considered to a gift from a goddess, not a male.