Little did you know...these women changed the world with their innovative inventions. Read to get inspired by these ladies and the necessities that would not exist without them.
Caller ID and Call Waiting, invented in 1976 by Dr. Shirley Jackson
Dr. Shirley Jackson developed an interest in science and mathematics during childhood. She studied at MIT, where she received a bachelor and doctoral degree in physics, becoming the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from the university.
While working at AT&T Bell Laboratory, she researched theoretical physics and used her knowledge to invent Call Waiting and Caller ID. Because of this, she’s been able to create opportunities for the technology we know today as portable fax, touch-tone telephone, solar cells, and fiber optic cables.
The Heater, invented in 1919 by Alice H. Parker
What started off as an inspiration to warm her home during the cold New Jersey winters turned into a genius invention that’s paved the way for our homes today.
Meet Alice H. Parker, the genius mastermind and inventor behind the 1919 central heating system, powered by natural gas, which in the 1920s was a great way to power a heating furnace while conserving energy.
Home Security, invented in 1966 by Marie Van Brittan Brown
Although video surveillance existed in the 1940s, it only became mainstream in the 1970s thanks to nurse Marie Van Brittan Brown, who invented the first home video security system in 1966.
Although images were grainy at first, users could see photographs of visitors on a television monitor. It also became the first time a remote could control a door.
GIF Animation, invented by Lisa Gelobter
If you sometimes use GIFs to express how you feel, you can thank Lisa Gelobter for that idea!
Lisa developed the animation used to produce the GIF images, paving the way for online video and internet animations. She has over 25 years of experience in tech, developing software and other internet technologies.
Cataract Treatment, invented in 1988 by Dr. Patricia Bath
Cataract treatment inventor Dr. Patricia Bath was the first Black person in 1973 to complete a residency in ophthalmology. In the 1980s, she began researching the use of lasers in ophthalmology and later patented in 1988 the Laserphaco Probe, a laser device used to dissolve cataracts and restore the sight of patients who had been blind for decades.
Throughout her life, she continued to be the first of many, like becoming the first Black surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, and the first woman ophthalmologist on UCLA’s Jules Stein faculty Eye Institute.
The Feeding Tube, invented in 1951 by Bessie Blount Griffin
Born in Hickory, Virginia, Bessie Blount Griffin was a physical therapist who, in her early life, worked with injured soldiers during World War II. During this time, she noticed a need to assist those who had lost the capability to feed themselves. In response, she invented an electronic device with a rubber tube that could dispense bites of food without hands.
The Landsat: first satellite to ever send images from space, invented in 1980 by Valerie L. Thomas
Scientist Valerie L. Thomas changed the way the world sees satellite images of Earth. She joined NASA in 1965 as a mathematician and data analyst. There, she worked on the Landsat image processing system, the first satellite to provide images from outer space.
These photographs helped predict worldwide cop yields and transmit information.
The Hair Brush, invented in 1898 by Lyda Newman
While she was known for her efforts to fight for women’s rights, Lyda Newman is also the remarkable inventor behind the first hairbrush with synthetic bristles.
She was inspired to improve the design from her own experiences as a Black hairdresser. Her goal was to make the process of brushing hair to be more hygienic and efficient. Brushes were made of animal hair, which was too soft for a Black woman with thicker hair textures.
The Sanitary Belt (pad), invented in 1956 by Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner was a self-taught innovator, best known for creating a sanitary belt, an adjustable belt with built-in moisture-proof napkin pockets. This invention made it less likely that a woman menstruating could leak and stain clothes.
Source: vice.com, face2faceafrica.com, black-inventors.com, lemelson.mit.edu, blogs.oregonstate.edu, americacomesalive.com, boydsecurity.com, black-inventors.com, onmilwaukee.com, copycei.com, blackpast.org