When talking about inventions and innovations, we are used to hearing what men pioneered. Not often do we hear a woman’s name come up, despite her groundbreaking creations.
It’s time we break that pattern, as we talk about 4 women and how they changed the world:
1. The first ice cream maker by Nancy Johnson
We all have a certain sweet concoction we’re into, whether we claim to be a sweet tooth or not; for the majority of us, it’s ice cream.
Today, we can buy ice cream almost anywhere. But before the 1840s, ice cream was an exotic dessert and was enjoyed mainly by the elites. It took hours and extensive labor to make—until Nancy Johnson had this idea to create a freezer that simultaneously churns cream and transforms it to ice cream. Her machine sold quickly and innovations followed. This paved the way for the modern ice cream industry.
Thanks to Ms. Johnson, our lazy Netflix-loving selves found the perfect midnight snack to match with our favourite series!
2. Anna Connelly created the fire escape
Back in the day when we could freely go outdoors, I’ve always wondered who came up with this brilliant idea to put staircases outside buildings. Now that I am stuck at home, I took the initiative to find the answer.
Her name is Anna Connelly. She had the intention to reduce the rate of fire mortality, so being the smart woman that she is, she thought of creating a bridge with metal railings that connect adjacent buildings—allowing people to escape from one building to another in case of an emergency. This design was eventually adapted to different buildings, adding exterior staircases with platforms each level.
Today, Anna’s revolutionary idea continues to ensure public safety and to save countless lives.
3. Ruth Wakefield baked the first ever chocolate chip cookies
Another sweet most of us are into–the chocolate chip cookie! Who knew that this iconic dessert was born by accident?
One day, Ruth Wakefield, owner of Toll House Inn, was baking cookies for their guests when she realized that she was out of baker’s chocolate. She broke a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar into pieces instead and added it to her mixture. She put it inside the oven and to her surprise, the chocolate she used did not melt as the baker’s chocolate would have.
Wakefield embraced this incident and eventually closed a deal with Nestle; the two partners called it the “Toll House Crunch Cookies”.
4. Hedy Lamarr co-invented a signal technology, the foundation of modern-day wireless communication
Hedy Lamarr is an Austrian-American actress popularly known for her iconic roles in the 1930s to the 1940s. Her stunning beauty inspired Snow White and Catwoman. She had a keen interest in inventions that started when she was just 5 years old, which came in handy during the early years of WW2.
When we need to contact someone, all we have to do is grab our phone and hit send, however, back then, the technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today. The US military had to use a radio device that could easily be tracked and jammed by the enemy. Lamarr, together with George Antheil, thought of frequency hopping–a technology that secured their communication system.
This also laid the foundation for Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth, all of which have become a part of our daily lives today.
Thanks to our gal Hedy, we are able to communicate hassle-free.
These women are responsible for the things we use in our day-to-day lives–whether it be for our safety, communication, entertainment, or simply when we are craving for something sweet, and yet, only a few have heard of their names. So next time history comes up, make sure to mention them.
A toast to all the women and their breakthroughs! Cheers!