1.Weaving Straw Into Hats.
Mary Kies was the first American woman to earn a patent in her own name. In 1809, she developed a way of weaving straw into hats that was an economic boon for New England. By receiving that piece of paper with her name on it, Kies led the way for other female inventors to take credit for their ideas.
In the late 18th century, a religious sect known as the Shakers emerged. Shakers valued living communally (albeit celibately), equality between the sexes and hard work. Tabitha Babbitt lived in a Shaker community in Massachusetts and worked as a weaver, but in 1810, she came up with a way to lighten the load of her brethren. She observed men cutting wood with a pit saw, which is a two-handled saw that requires two men to pull it back and forth. Though the saw is pulled both ways, it only cuts wood when it’s pulled forward; the return stroke is useless. To Babbitt, that was wasted energy, so she created a prototype of the circular saw that would go on to be used in saw mills. She attached a circular blade to her spinning wheel so that every movement of the saw produced results. Babbitt didn’t apply for a patent for the circular saw she created.
3.Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ruth Wakefield had worked as a dietitian and food lecturer before buying an old toll house outside of Boston with her husband. Traditionally, toll houses were places weary travelers paid their road tolls, grabbed a quick bite and fed their horses. Wakefield and her husband converted the toll house into an inn with a restaurant. One day in 1930, Wakefield was baking up a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies for her guests. The recipe called for melted chocolate, but Wakefield had run out of baker’s chocolate. She took a Nestle chocolate bar, crumbled it into pieces and threw it into her batter, expecting the chocolate pieces to melt during baking. Instead, the chocolate held its shape, and the chocolate chip cookie was born.
Bette Nesmith Graham was not a very good typist but very innovative
It was the 1950s, and the electric typewriter had just been introduced. Secretaries often found themselves retyping entire pages because of one tiny mistake, as the new model’s carbon ribbon made it difficult to correct errors.
One day, Graham watched workers painting a holiday display on a bank window. She noticed that when they made mistakes, they simply added another layer of paint to cover them up, and she thought she could apply that idea to her typing blunders. Using her blender, Graham mixed up a water-based tempera paint with dye that matched her company’s stationary. She took it to work and, using a fine watercolor brush, she was able to quickly correct her errors. Soon, the other secretaries were clamoring for the product, which Graham continued to produce in her kitchen. Graham was fired from her job for spending so much time distributing what she called “Mistake Out,” but in her unemployment she was able to tweak her mixture, rename the product Liquid Paper and receive a patent in 1958.
5. The Square-bottomed Paper Bag
Margaret Knight didn’t invent the paper bag, but those first paper bags weren’t all that useful for carrying things. In 1870, she created a wooden machine that would cut, fold and glue the square bottoms to paper bags.
she was granted the patent for the device in 1871.