Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

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16. Medical syringe
> Inventor: Letitia Geer
> Year / period: 1899

For centuries before Greer’s invention of a one-handed syringe, medical professionals had been using syringes that required both hands to administer injections.

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17. Street sweeper
> Inventor: Florence Parpart
> Year / period: 1900

Parpart’s street sweeper design was not the first, but it was such an improvement on earlier models that within two years of receiving her patent she had contracts all across the United States to manufacture her design.

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18. Windshield wiper
> Inventor: Mary Anderson
> Year / period: 1903

After receiving a patent in 1903, Anderson tried to sell her new windshield cleaning device to a manufacturer, who refused, stating that her invention lacked practical value. Her windshield wipers failed to take off before her patent expired and it was 10 years before a similar device became standard on cars.

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19. The First Monopoly Game
> Inventor: Elizabeth Magie
> Year / period: 1904

Originally designed to demonstrate the evils of unchecked capitalism, Magie’s “The Landlord’s Game,” was patented in 1904, 30 years before a man patented a very similar game called Monopoly and sold it to Parker Brothers.

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20. Retractable dog leash
> Inventor: Mary A. Delaney
> Year / period: 1908

In Delaney’s words, her invention of a leash you could shorten at a moment’s notice was to prevent dogs from “running on the wrong side of lamp posts or pedestrians, thus causing much annoyance to the owner.” Thank you, Mary.