Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

Source: Laboko / Getty Images

31. Disposable diaper
> Inventor: Marion Donovan
> Year / period: 1950

First inventing a leak-proof diaper covering, then a fully disposable diaper, Donovan was intent on helping as many people as possible with her ingenuity. While it’s not surprising that her inventions were completely ignored as “unnecessary and impractical” by the male manufacturers she pitched them to, Donovan took matters into her own hands and sold them straight to Saks Fifth Avenue.

Source: smithsonian / Flickr

32. Anti-fungal drug
> Inventor: Rachel Fuller Brown and Elizabeth Lee Hazen
> Year / period: 1950

These two New York Department of Health lab researchers discovered Nystatin, one of the first effective anti-fungal medicines, by collaborating on experiments through the mail.

Source: Remmzo / Getty Images

33. Liquid Paper
> Inventor: Bette Nesmith Graham
> Year / period: 1951

This invention turned Graham from a secretary to a millionaire. First marketed as “Mistake-Out,” Graham’s home-made typewriter correction fluid was an instant hit among her fellow secretaries. After further experimentation, she perfected her recipe and Liquid Paper was born.

Source: monsitj / Getty Images

34. Computer software
> Inventor: Grace Murray Hopper
> Year / period: 1952

A computer scientist who helped design Harvard’s Mark I Computer, Hopper also invented a compiler that could translate written language into computer code, and was a part of the team that developed COBOL, one of the first modern computer programming languages.

Source: Courtesy of 3M

35.Waterproof leather protector
> Inventor: Patsy O’Connell Sherman
> Year / period: 1956

While attempting to develop a new kind of rubber for jet fuel lines, Sherman and her lab partner Sam Smith accidentally discovered a waterproof, stain proof, insoluble polymer that eventually became Scotchgard.

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