Coffee filters. Dishwashers. Hair brushes. Windshield wipers. Computer programming language. Try to imagine how your day would go without these things.
Unless you live in a cabin in the woods and couldn’t care less about modern conveniences (in which case, you’re probably not reading this), the answer is “not well.”
Can you imagine how would your day go if there weren’t coffee filters, for example? Or hair brushes? Or dishwashers? Or even windshield wipers?
Yes, we all know the answer: not well!
Can you imagine driving through a storm without windshield wipers? Or getting ready for work without paper filters to make coffee? It all seems unimaginable in 2019, and the reason life no longer looks like that is because a number of brilliant women invented things like these to help make our lives a whole lot easier.
Meet these 5 women whose inventions changed the world forever:
1. Melitta Bentz invented the paper sleeves that keep coffee grinds out.
Melitta patented her invention in 1908. Before she did it, people used to put coffee grinds in a small cloth bag, and it often resulted in some gritty residue at the bottom of a cup of coffee. However, Benz prevented that effect, and she also essentially invented the pour-over method.
2. Mary Anderson invented the windshield wipers and made the car travel much safer.
It only seems fitting that the windshield wiper was invented by a woman who was annoyed at being stuck in traffic in New York City.
She was visiting NYC in 1902 and was annoyed that her car driver had to go out and wipe the snow off the windshield, so when she got some, she drew a sketch of the first windshield wiper.
She patented it a year later and called it a “window cleaning device”.
3. Mabel Williams invented the first mascara.
Women weren’t able to do much to make their eyelashes appear longer and fuller until a woman named Mabel Williams mixed coal dust, vaseline, and oils for the sheen to create one of the first mascaras.
Her brother saw the potential, and developed a brush called Lash-Brow-Ine and launched the company Maybell Laboratories in Chicago.
Williams launched the beauty brand Maybelline two years later.
4. Grace Hopper and her team created the first computer language.
Grace Hopper led the team that was responsible for the first computer language that feeds the computer instructions translated into code.
Her team created the language that was the precursor for the Common Business Oriented Language, or COBOL, which ended up becoming a computer language used worldwide.
5. Lyda Newman designed the useful hairbrush with evenly-spaced rows of bristles.
Hairbrushes keep our locks from looking like a knotty mess, and that’s largely thanks to Lyda Newman’s ingenious design.
She invented a brush that had evenly-spaced rows of bristles with open slots to guide things like dust and dandruff away from the hair.
She got a patent for it in 1898.