Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

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6. Paper-bag-making machine
> Inventor: Margaret Knight
> Year / period: 1871

After having her invention stolen by a man who claimed that there was no way a woman could have invented such a thing, Knight finally received a patent in 1871 for a machine that could produce square-bottomed paper bags.

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7. Dishwasher
> Inventor: Josephine Cochran
> Year / period: 1872

Though other prototypes existed, it took a woman’s common sense to create a dishwasher that actually cleaned the dishes. Cochran’s design was the first that used water pressure rather than scrubbers to remove debris.

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8. Globes
> Inventor: Ellen Fitz
> Year / period: 1875

Fitz was a tutor in Canada when she designed a globe mount that could display the earth’s daily rotation in relation to the path of the sun not only by day and night but also throughout the year.

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9. Locomotive chimney
> Inventor: Mary Walton
> Year / period: 1879

Passionate about improving urban conditions and air pollution, Walton invented a train chimney system that reduced air pollution by filtering smoke through water, trapping the airborne chemicals and holding them in suspension.

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10. System to reduce noise by trains
> Inventor: Mary Walton
> Year / period: 1881

In addition to the pollution-minimizing locomotive chimney, Walton also patented a way to greatly reduce the noise of New York City’s elevated railways by insulating the tracks with boxes of sand. The city’s Metropolitan Railroad bought the rights almost immediately.