Nov 8, 2013

Four More Inventions by Women

Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, a tough durable material now used to make bulletproof vests. For years she'd worked on the process at DuPont and in 1963, she got the polymers or rod-like molecules in fibers to line up in one direction. This made the material stronger than others, where molecules were arranged in bundles. In fact, the new material was as strong as steel! Kwolek's technology also went on to be used for making suspension bridge cables, helmets, brake pads, skis, and camping gear.

Patricia Bath, MD - Patented in 1988, a new method of removing cataracts. The medical laser instrument made the procedure more accurate and is termed the cataract Laserphacoprobe. As a laser scientist and inventor, she has 5 patents on the laser cataract surgery device covering the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe.

What is the Blissymbol Printer? It's a software program invented by a Canadian 12-year-old in the mid-1980s. Rachel Zimmerman's printer enables those with severe physical disabilities like cerebral palsy, to communicate. The user records their thoughts by touching symbols on a page or board through the use of a special touch pad, the printer then translates the symbols into a written language. Zimmerman's system started as a project for a school science fair, but ended up competing and winning a silver medal in a nationwide contest, as well as gaining her the YTV Television Youth Achievement Award.

Before the paper bag, the first version was shaped like an envelope, with no flat bottom.  Margaret Knight created a machine to cut, fold, and glue square bottoms to paper bags and gained a patent for it in 1871, but not without a lawsuit against a fellow who stole her idea. His defense was "a woman could never design such an innovative machine," but she had the drawings to prove the invention was hers and she won the case. Knight's career with inventions started at age 12, when she developed a stop-motion device that immediately brought industrial machines to a halt if something was caught in them. Over the course of her lifetime, she was awarded over 26 patents.
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