Inspiring Women

The Story of 5 Women and Their Incredible Inventions

Their amazing stories …and the men who stole all the credit.


And here are twelve more women who also deserve to be recognized, and in many cases were:

The Story of 5 Women and Their Incredible Inventions

Bette Nesmith Graham: Bette proved herself to be a better inventor than typist when she got sick of re-typing pages and created liquid paper to cover up her errors. She started selling it in 1956 and sold her company to Gillette Corporation in 1979 for $47.5 million dollars. We’re just glad someone on this list got some recognition for their brilliance.

Melitta Bentz: Scooping coffee sludge out of the bottom of your mug is the worst, and thanks to Melitta and her invention of the paper coffee filter, you never have to. In this finals week, my classmates and I have nothing but gratitude for the woman who made our coffee addiction possible

Maria Beasley: In the late 1800s, Maria decided that someone should probably do something about all the people dying at sea, so she invented the life raft. Now if only the people on the Titanic had listened…

Mary Jacob: Between the tight shape and whalebone material, early bras were basically designed by Satan. Mary decided that it would probably help if bras were, y’know, actually shaped to fit women’s anatomy. So, she invented the far comfier modern bra and sold the patent to Warners for a small sum.

Sarah Goode: Goode was the first African-American woman to get a US patent in 1885 for her foldaway bed. She didn’t stop at practicality, though — Goode made sure all the beds were pretty, too.

Stephanie Kwolek: If you’re a super secret agent who’s survived getting shot, you have Stephanie to thank. She invented Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests. If not, you can thank her for cables, tires, and the knowledge that, should you ever switch careers, she’s got your back.

Virginia Apgar: The Apgar Test used to check a baby’s Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration after birth is thanks to Virginia. She must’ve learned from all the other women inventors who watched a man take credit for their inventions, because she put her name all over it.

Katharine Blogdett: Katharine invented the non-reflective glass used in stuff like camera lenses, telescopes, and eyeglasses. It’s her you have to thank for that picture your friend took at an angle that makes you look like you have ten chins. Thanks, Katharine!

Women of Ancient Mesopotamia: Ah, beer. The classic sidekick of any douchey frat boy, it’s always there to throw a misogynistic ad at us. But once upon a time, beer was actually the women’s domain. Mesopotamian women are credited for the creation of beer, and most ancient civilizations thanked a goddess rather than a god for their beverage.

Mary Anderson: When Mary invented the windshield wipers in 1903, everyone thought it would be too much of a distraction for the drivers. By 1916, everyone figured out that not being able to see is a tad more distracting, and her invention became a standard fixture.

Ruth Wakefield: In the best accident of all time, Ruth ran out of baking chocolate. She used chunks of chocolate instead, hoping they would melt. Instead, we got the chocolate chip cookie, proving that procrastinating on the grocery shopping can have some positive side effects after all.

Josephine Cochrane: After Josephine noticed that her servants chipped her dishes, she started washing them herself. When that got old, she invented the dishwashing machine to do it for her. If that’s not the best reaction to any annoying chore ever, we don’t know what is.
And for all the women who still haven’t gotten the credit they deserve – we salute you, and we promise to honor you by continuing the feminist movement to ensure that women are marginalized less and less as years pass.

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 121 Comments

  1. Avatar of Cindy Frazier

    Cindy Frazier

    Maria Beasley is a life saver. Thanks to you, you saved a lot of lives!

  2. Avatar of Karla Alvarez

    Karla Alvarez

    I will let my daughter read this. This should be at school too. A lot of people doesn’t have any idea who these women are, and men are underestimating women. This is a proof that women are not that easy.

  3. Avatar of Kelly Osborne

    Kelly Osborne

    Informative article. Keep posting articles like this because we learn a lot from this. Some of these can’t be taught at school.

  4. Avatar of Myron Stephens

    Myron Stephens

    Women of Ancient Mesopotamia?? They are the inventors of the beer?!! Hail to them!!

  5. Avatar of Jodi Thornton

    Jodi Thornton

    Those men should’ve known better! They took a big piece of those women’s lives! Let’s all be aware on who invented these amazing things. Thank you to those women who shared their ideas to the world. They could have improved their lives and lived it easy if those men didn’t steal their inventions.

  6. Avatar of Marsha Reed

    Marsha Reed

    There should be more originality in people. They need to stop stealing ideas.

    • Avatar of Maggie Lawrence

      Maggie Lawrence

      I didn’t know this until today. Honesty is the best policy.

    • Avatar of Lydia Erickson

      Lydia Erickson

      At least we all know now that those ideas weren’t from those men.

    • Avatar of Patricia Mann

      Patricia Mann

      They just oppressed these women because of their lack in decency!

    • Avatar of Maxine Hanson

      Maxine Hanson

      It’s so hard to be original nowadays as other people may have had that idea already. But then directly stealing other people’s ideas whilst fully aware that you are about to steal them is a different story.?

  7. Avatar of Catherine Lewis

    Catherine Lewis

    Those men just ranaway with the money those women deserved. Sometimes it’s not even just because of money, it’s the act itself that’s disappointing!

  8. Avatar of Bernadette Garza

    Bernadette Garza

    Wow, that’s a lame move. Women are so creative that men had to steal their ideas.

  9. Avatar of Pam Reyes

    Pam Reyes

    Isn’t it easier to be nice? And just acknowledge good deeds and not steal people’s ideas? I don’t get it.

    • Avatar of Michele Adkins

      Michele Adkins

      Their ideas were awesome in general, which is why those men felt the need to steal their inventions.

    • Avatar of Tara Norman

      Tara Norman

      Now we know what they did and that’s even funnier.

  10. Avatar of Myra Sullivan

    Myra Sullivan

    Informative stuff! Some of us need to be aware that this still happens nowadays.

    • Avatar of Terri Ferguson

      Terri Ferguson

      It does and it’s really sad that we keep on going back to the roots of evil. Just sad.

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