Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

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26. Foot pedal trash can
> Inventor: Lillian Gilbreth
> Year / period: N/A

Gilbreth, an engineer and psychologist, performed exhaustive research on the psychological impact that work spaces have on productivity. Her genius in the area of ergonomics brought us many valuable inventions, including the foot pedal trash can.

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27. Microelectrode
> Inventor: Ida Hyde
> Year / period: 1921

The first female researcher at Harvard Medical School, Hyde created one of the earliest models of an intracellular micropipette electrode, which allowed her to stimulate and monitor a cell without disturbing the cell wall. This technology is still widely used in science laboratories.

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28. Low-reflection glass
> Inventor: Katharine Blodgett
> Year / period: 1935

Before Blodgett’s revolutionary non-reflective glass coating was invented, glass wasn’t nearly as useful or reliable as it is today. Her invention has proven indispensable in the making of camera lenses, microscopes and eyeglasses.

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29. Wireless transmission technology
> Inventor: Hedy Lamarr
> Year / period: 1941

During World War II, Lamarr, who also happened to be a movie star, created a frequency-hopping communication system that could guide torpedos without being detected. Her groundbreaking work paved the way for the modern invention of WiFi, GPS, and bluetooth.

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30. Thermoelectric power generator
> Inventor: Maria Telkes
> Year / period: 1947

A pioneer in the field of solar thermal storage systems, MIT researcher Maria Telkes created the first solar-heated system for her home in Dover, Massachusetts.