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Wonder Women                                          

Hudson Cooper
Posted 8/27/21

Films and television have given us a bevy of female superheroes to root for.

Black Widow, Batwoman, Harley Quinn, and Elektra have all become memorable superheroes.

But there are a few real …

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Random Thoughts

Wonder Women                                          


Films and television have given us a bevy of female superheroes to root for.

Black Widow, Batwoman, Harley Quinn, and Elektra have all become memorable superheroes.

But there are a few real women that should be on that list for helping citizens of the world. These women are included in my superhero list I call “The Inventresses.”

These women invented or improved devices that we use every day to make life better for most of us. Unlike the laser firing, shapeshifting, x-ray eyeballed comic book heroines, the “Inventresses” should be role models for your daughters.

Do not blame Maria Beasely for the loss of life when the Titanic sank in 1912. She was concerned with saving lives. In the 1800s millions of immigrants took any boat they could find to venture to the promised land, the United States.

Many boats proved to be unsafe and sank. Vessels at that time had life rafts that were too flimsy to survive long periods on the ocean. In 1882 Beasely got a patent for a life raft that was airtight with secure storage areas for survival provisions. Her design was also fireproof and was easier to lower from a sinking vessel.

Beasely invented other things that helped people. Besides a steam generator and a foot warmer, in 1878 she patented a barrel making machine that held its contents airtight. This advanced commerce across America since goods and food were being shipped across the continent.

So, after a homesteader in Montana wanted to relax after a long day of plowing behind his stubborn mule, he could open a Beasely inspired barrel of Kentucky bourbon, kick back and relax.

Another “Inventress” who was concerned with saving lives was Anna Connelly from Philadelphia. Realizing that many buildings were firetraps and cost lives, she invented the fire escape, getting a patent in 1887.

After reading tales of people jumping out of windows to escape fires, Connelly designed a fire escape that could be mounted on the exterior of a building. It was a cost-effective way to save lives that served as a model for today’s fire escapes.

If she had realized that they also are an easy way for burglars to gain access, maybe she could have invented a better window lock.

While we are on the subject of lifesaving devices, it is time we in-“vested” a few words about Stephanie Kwolek. Although Kwolek is not faster than a speeding bullet like Superman, she did invent Kevlar in 1965. Kevlar is the main ingredient in bulletproof vests. Her invention saved countless individuals.

Now that we revealed some lifesaving “Inventresses,” let us get to a few women who made our existence easier and fun.

Here’s a woman who deserves “Knight”-hood.

Invented in 1868 and granted a patent in 1870, Margaret Knight developed an attachment for paper bag folding machines that produced square, flat-bottomed bags. Unlike previous paper bags, thanks to her invention you can open a bag, place it on a counter and fill it up without it tipping over. Almost every paper bag used today is derived from her invention.

During hot summers, one item most of us put into our square, flat-bottomed bags is ice cream. But for Americans in the 1800s making ice cream was a long tedious process. Then Nancy Johnson invented the hand-cranked ice cream maker that turned out that treat without using electricity.

Her patent was granted in 1843. Research shows her to be no relation to other ice cream notables such as Howard Johnson nor Ben & Jerry.           

These women and many more deserve recognition for developing their ideas into products that are part of mainstream America. So, the next time your daughters begin to “marvel” at the female superheroes on the movie or television screen, introduce them to “The Inventresses.”

These women helped citizens without the use of shapeshifting or x-ray eyeballs. Instead, they relied on their brains.


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