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Investigations
 
Gwen Wright
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FEATURE - WOMEN INVENTORS

More from Gwen about female inventors.

From America's earliest days, women have been responsible for a wide range of creations and improvements.

But for most of the Colonial Era, a woman couldn't even hold a patent.

Though this didn't stop Sybilla Masters, the first known American woman inventor.

In 1715, she devised a method for processing Indian corn into corn meal.

But her patent had to be issued in her husband's name.

Throughout most of the 18th and 19th century, the home was considered a woman's primary place, which explains why so many early inventions were of a decidedly domestic nature.

The first U.S. patent issued to a woman was to Hannah Slater in 1793 who developed cotton-sewing thread.

While these "domestic inventions" may seem mundane, many of them have had on-going effects on our culture, while the range of women's inventions continues to grow.

Twentieth-century inventions include the cordless phone, Jell-O, the TV dinner, the Barbie doll, AIDS medications, and the Mars Rover.

Today, American women inventors are finally getting the recognition they deserve.