1/ 10 What would the world be, without chocolate chip cookies? You would have had the misfortune of knowing the answer to that if it was not invented by Ruth Wakefield, a well-known dietician and food lecturer. While making cookies for guests of the Toll House Inn, a lodge she co-owned with her husband, she realised that she was out of baker's chocolate. Wakefield broke some pieces of Nestle chocolate bar and mixed into the batter, hoping that it will melt while baking. Thus, what was then known as "Toll House Crunch Cookies" were created. Reuters Frustrated by the repetitive task of changing her youngest child's wet cloth diapers, Marion Donovan, a post-World War II housewife and mother of two, crafted a diaper to keep her baby and the surroundings dry. After multiple attempts at it with a sewing machine and a shower curtain, Donovan finally completed creating a waterproof diaper cover. Donovan's diaper didn't cause rashes or pinch the child's skin, unlike the rubber baby pants that was already available in the market. She subsequently added snap fasteners to her invention and named it "boater". Further perfecting her invention, Donovan used a special type of paper that was not only strong and absorbent, but also conveyed water away from the baby's skin and thus the fully disposable diaper was born. Reuters Dishwasher is the brain child of Josephine Cochrane. The dishwasher of Cochrane used high water pressure aimed at a wire rack of dishes to clean it. While most of the houses during the era didn't have the technology of a hot water system to run such a machine, Cochrane persisted and sold her idea to hotels and restaurants. She even received a patent for her invention in 1886. Reuters Hungarian biophysicist Dr. Maria Telkes was the founder of world’s first 100 percent solar house. She moved to the United States in 1925 and worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the university's “Solar Energy Research Project”. Telkes also became an American citizen and joined Westinghouse Electric as a research engineer in the area of energy conversion. He had worked on a project about converting heat energy into electric energy. In 1947, Telkes invented the thermoelectric power generator to provide heat for Dover House, a wedge-shaped structure she conceived with architect Eleanor Raymond. Dover House survived nearly three Massachusetts winters before the system failed. Ravi Sahani/ Greenpeace In the beginning of the 20th century, women's undergarments were less "supporting" and more like torture devices as it held a woman's body in an unnatural, agonizing position. It was a New York socialite Many Phelps Jacobs, who, exasperated with antiquated corsets, created a more comfortable, less cumbersome alternative. Jacobs took two silk handkerchiefs and, with the help of her maid, sewed them together using some pink ribbon and cord, resulting in a soft and light garment that conformed to the wearer's anatomy far more naturally than corsets. Although many people have attempted at making brassieres before, it was her unique idea of "separating the breasts" that made her design stand out and won her a US patent in 1914. Her brassieres became popular during WWI, when the U.S. government requested women to stop purchasing corsets in order to conserve metal. Reuters Thanks to Margaret Knight, grocery shopping isn't as difficult an experience as it used to be when paper bags were shaped like envelopes. Realizing paper bags without a square bottoms aren't that useful, cotton mill worker Margaret Knight invented a machine that could cut and attach flat bottoms to bags, in 1868. However, before she could patent the iron version of her machine, a man named Charles Annan saw her design and tried to patent the idea before her, claiming that no woman could think of something so complex. Knight filed a lawsuit against him and proved that the prototype was in fact hers and gained the patent in 1871. Reuters Along with co-founding the renowned toy company Mattel, Ruth Handler also designed the Barbie doll, which has now gone on to become a mandatory member of little girls' toy kingdom across the world. While watching her daughter play with paper dolls, Ruth Handler noticed that she and her friends used the dolls to act out the future rather than the present. So, she set out to invent a grown-up, three-dimensional doll that girls could use to act out their dreams and named it after her daughter Barbara. Later on, she also invented a male counterpart doll and named it after her son: Ken. Reuters During a road trip from Alabama to New York City, Mary Anderson noticed that drivers are coming out of the vehicle to clear snow and ice off their windshields. So, she developed the windshield wiper - an arm with a rubber blade - that could be activated without getting out of your car. However, drivers were sceptical about Anderson's manual windshield wipers, when she first invented it in 1903, thinking that it was safer to drive with rain and snow obscuring the road than to pull a lever to clear it. Although she was issued a patent for the windshield wipers in 1905, the device did not gain popularity until nearly a decade later. Cadillac was the first to include them in every car model, and other companies soon followed it. Reuters The official website of Monopoly states, "It was 1934, the height of the Depression, when Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania, showed what he called the Monopoly game to the executives at Parker Brothers" the design, however, was strikingly similar to the one patented on January 5, 1904, by Lizzie J. Magie, a Quaker woman from Virginia. Magie was inspired to create what she called The Landlord's Game, to demonstrate the tragic effects of land-grabbing. The principle behind Magie's version of Monopoly was that renting of land and real estate produced an unearned increase in land values and it profited a few individuals rather than the majority of the people. Funskool African-American women have played an integral part in the development of hair-care products in the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century. While Newman was not the original inventor of the hair brush, her improvements to the brush made her a significant contributor to its evolution. Granted a patent for her invention in 1898, Newman's brush was the first hairbrush with synthetic bristles (prior to that brushes were made from animal hair). But Newman's brush also had several other unique innovations. As noted in Newman's patent, "The object of the invention is to provide a new and improved hair brush which is simple and durable in construction, very effective when in use." Reuters
When you think of a inventor, you think of Thomas Edison or Benjamin Franklin or Alexander Graham Bell, but Ruth Wakefield or Josephine Cochrane never pops up in our heads. There have been many amazing women in the world, who have created some of the handiest, yummiest and most useful inventions of all time.
Here are ten amazing inventions that are the brainchildren of some of the brilliant women in history.