Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

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41. Home security system
> Inventor: Marie Van Brittan Brown
> Year / period: 1969

With New York City police being notoriously slow to respond to calls in her neighborhood, Brown took matters into her own hands and created a home security system with closed-circuit television.

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42. Caller ID and call-waiting
> Inventor: Shirley Ann Jackson
> Year / period: 1970’s

Shirley Ann Jackson was an award-winning theoretical physicist. Her contributions to the field of telecommunications led to the invention of numerous technologies, including caller ID and call-waiting, as well as solar cells and fiber optic cables.

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43. Word processor
> Inventor: Evelyn Berezin
> Year / period: 1971

In addition to creating the first computerized airline booking system, Berezin created the world’s first word processor. Realizing that because of her gender she wouldn’t be able to move up in the industry, she also founded her own company, Redactron, to get her inventions on the market.

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44. Photo enhancement
> Inventor: Barbara Askins
> Year / period: 1978

While working for NASA, Askins was tasked with finding a way to improve the quality of photos taken from space. Her method of enhancing photo negatives was far more widely applicable, as it could be used to clarify photos after they were already developed. Her technology has been adapted for use with X-rays and historical photo restoration.

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45. Space station batteries
> Inventor: Olga Gonzalez-Sanabria
> Year / period: 1980

The International Space Station relies on solar power, but for a third of its rotation, the earth blocks the sun’s rays. Gonzalez-Sanabria’s long-life nickel hydrogen batteries keep the International Space Station powered up during that dark portion of its rotation.