The following is a partial list of the many inventions by women that dates from the early 19th century through the 20th century. Inventions include everything from household appliances to automotive parts, snacks, safety devices and items that can save lives. Some of the names on the list will likely be familiar, while others might not. All of them should be household names, considering that most of their inventions are just that.
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.