1800's to 1900's Inventions
1809 Mary Dixon Kies
The first U.S. patent was issued in 1809 to Mary Dixon Kies, a Connecticut native who invented a process for weaving straw with silk or thread. First Lady Dolley Madison publicly thanked her for boosting the nation’s hat industry. Unfortunately, this historic patent was destroyed in the great Patent Office fire in 1836
1843 Ada Lovelace
A rare exception to the social norm in 1843, Ada Lovelace wrote a scientific paper that anticipated the development of computer software, artificial intelligence and computer music. The daughter of the poet Lord Byron, Lady Ada Lovelace was known as the “enchantress of numbers” who collaborated with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical thinking-calculating machine. The Ada programming language was later named after her. However, Ada didn’t bother patenting any of her work because it wasn’t socially acceptable for most women to be filing patents.
1870 Margaret Knight
Martha Knight patents a machine to produce flat-bottomed paper bags. She also becomes the first woman in the United States to fight and win a patent suit, when she defended her patent against a man who had stolen her design and filed for his own patent on it. He claimed a woman couldn't possibly have the mechanical knowledge needed to invent such a complex machine, but Knight was able to back up her claim. Margaret Knight can be considered the mother of the grocery bag, and she started the Eastern Paper Bag Company in 1870. Margaret Knight's machine made flat-bottomed paper bags are still in use to this very day! She is a real inspiration to female inventors everywhere. Talk about ubiquitous inventions!
1886 Josephine Cochran
Dishwasher – In 1886, Josephine Cochran proclaimed in disgust “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwasher, I’ll do it myself.” And she did, Josephine Cochran invented the first practical (did the job) dishwasher. Josephine Cochran had expected the public to welcome the new invention, which she unveiled at the 1893, World’s Fair, but only the hotels and large restaurants bought her ideas. It was not until the 1950s, that dishwashers caught on with the general public.