Seeing as International Women’s Day is coming up soon on March 8th, I thought that it would be a good idea to talk about some of the many creations that were invented by women throughout the course of history.
I’ll be starting off this list with the invention of the computer algorithm in 1843 by the English mathematician, Ada Lovelace. Lovelace is seen by many as the first person to publish an algorithm designed to be run on a computer. The algorithm she created was designed for a proposed computer, the Analytical Engine, to compute Bernoulli numbers, a type of mathematical sequence. Lovelace was the first in her time to realize that a computer could be used to process more than just calculating numbers, and in turn, we have her to thank for unlocking the full potential of computers.
Next up is a very useful appliance that many people have in their homes, the dishwasher. The first automatic dishwasher–that had commercial success–was invented in 1872 by Josephine Cochran, an American inventor. At the time of its invention, dishwasher prototypes had already existed, but many of them were ineffective, relied on a hand-crank, and used scrubbers instead of pressurized water. Cochran’s model held the dishes on a flat wheel inside a copper boiler, using a motor to rotate the wheel as it was splashed by hot, soapy water. A patent for the appliance was approved in 1886. It wasn’t until 1949, where KitchenAid released its first dishwasher which was based on Cochran’s designs. Soon after, in the 1950s, dishwashers became a common household appliance.
The final invention I’m covering is something that I believe most people in our generation could not live without, wireless transmission technology. This technology was invented in 1941, during World War II, by Hedy Lamarr. Lamar was born in Austria-Hungary, but later moved to the United States and became both an actress and an inventor. During World War II, she developed a guidance system for the torpedoes, using frequency-hopping technology to avoid detection and interference from the Axis Powers. Her technology wasn’t adopted by the US Navy until more than a decade later in 1957. Lamarr’s innovative technology led the way for the invention of modern WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth.
I hope you’ve learned something new about how female inventors have contributed to some of the technology that we use today, and don’t forget about International Women’s Day on March 8th!
Written by Joshua Tan