Inventions By Women

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The following is a partial list of the many ingenious inventions by women.

Alphabet blocksAdeline D. T. Whitney1882
Apgar tests, which evaluate a baby’s health upon birthVirginia Apgar1952
Chocolate-chip cookiesRuth Wakefield1930
Circular sawTabitha Babbitt1812
DishwasherJosephine Cochran1872
Disposable diaperMarion Donovan1950
Electric hot water heaterIda Forbes1917
Elevated railwayMary Walton1881
Engine mufflerEl Dorado Jones1917
Fire escapeAnna Connelly1887
GlobesEllen Fitz1875
Ironing boardSarah Boone1892
Kevlar, a steel-like fiber used in radial tires, crash helmets, and bulletproof vestsStephanie Kwolek1966
Life raftMaria Beaseley1882
Liquid Paper®, a quick-drying liquid used to correct mistakes printed on paperBessie Nesmith1951
Locomotive chimneyMary Walton1879
Medical syringeLetitia Geer1899
Paper-bag-making machineMargaret Knight1871
Rolling pinCatherine Deiner1891
Rotary engineMargaret Knight1904
Scotchgard™ fabric protectorPatsy O. Sherman 1956
Snugli® baby carrierAnn Moore1965
Street-cleaning machineFlorence Parpart1900
Submarine lamp and telescopeSarah Mather 1845
Windshield wiperMary Anderson1903

Mystery Inventors

We'll probably never know how many women inventors there were. That's because in the early years of the United States, a woman could not get a patent in her own name. A patent is considered a kind of property, and until the late 1800s laws forbade women in most states from owning property or entering into legal agreements in their own names. Instead, a woman's property would be in the name of her father or husband.

For example, many people believe that Sybilla Masters was the first American woman inventor. In 1712 she developed a new corn mill, but was denied a patent because she was a woman. Three years later the patent was filed successfully in her husband's name.

Sources +