Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

Source: EzumeImages / Getty Images

21. Coffee filter
> Inventor: Melitta Benz
> Year / period: 1908

Pour-over coffee fans may be surprised to learn that the company Melitta isn’t named after an Italian coffee maker. It’s actually named after Melitta Bentz, a German entrepreneur who invented an easy, minimalist way to make coffee by placing it in a filter and pouring water over it.

Source: frankieroberto / Flickr

22. Electric refrigerator
> Inventor: Florence Parpart
> Year / period: 1914

In a time when people were still using ice-boxes, Parpart patented an electric refrigerator that she successfully marketed and improved upon for years.

Source: brizmaker / Getty Images

23. Electric hot water heater
> Inventor: Ida Forbes
> Year / period: 1917

Not much is known about Ida Forbes besides that she patented the first electric hot water heater in a time when most hot water heaters ran on gas.

Source: Digging History / Wikimedia Commons

24. Airplane muffler
> Inventor: El Dorado Jones
> Year / period: 1917

Nicknamed “Iron Woman,” El Dorado Jones owned her own metalworking factory where she employed only women over 40. Though she never received the funding to manufacture it, she invented the airplane engine muffler.

Source: pattonmania / Getty Images

25. Central heating
> Inventor: Alice Parker
> Year / period: 1919

Parker’s revolutionary design for central heating, though never utilized, was the first that used natural gas, rather than wood, to heat a home.

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