10 Greatest Women Inventors of All-Time!

October 23, 2017

10 Greatest Women Inventors of All-Time!

Throughout history, there have been some incredible inventions. It’s almost impossible to imagine what life would be like without life rafts, ice cream, refrigerators, car heaters, etc. 

Incredible women inventors who changed the world one idea at a time developed these inventions and so much more!

For your reading pleasure, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten greatest women inventors of all time—in no particular order.

1. Marie Curie - Radioactivity

Marie Curie, better known as Madame Curie was one of the greatest scientific minds of all time. 

She was the first person to study the theory of radioactivity and discovered that you could split an atom.

Curie received the Nobel Prize for her work in radioactivity and received a second for discovering polonium and radium. She was brilliant, successful, hard working, and definitely one of the greatest women inventors and scientists this world has ever seen. 

2. Nancy Johnson - Ice Cream Maker

What would the world be like without ice cream?

Thankfully, we’ll never know thanks to Nancy Johnson who invented the hand-cranked ice cream maker in 1843. 

Her original invention is still used today even after the advent of the electric ice cream maker. All we can say is, “Thank you!”

 3Florence Parpart - Electric Refrigerator

Speaking of ice-cold items, we’d never want to deal with a kitchen that had no modern electric refrigerator, and apparently, Florence Parpart didn’t want to either. 

In 1914, she invented the modern electric refrigerator that we still use today. 

Better yet, she wasn’t just a woman inventor; she was also a highly successful businesswoman who marketed and sold her refrigerators across the USA! 

4. Maria Beasley - Life Raft

We’d hate to be stuck at sea without a life raft, but Maria Beasley made sure that never happened.

In 1882, she decided that people should stop dying in water-faring travel disasters and invented the life raft—the same raft used on the Titanic.

She also invented a wooden barrel-making machine that helped her make a small fortune.

Other inventions included foot warmers, cooking pans, anti-derailment devices for trains, and more!

5. Elizabeth Magie - Monopoly

While not life-changing, Elizabeth Magie is a women inventor who changed all of our lives none-the-less—at least how we grow up. 

She’s responsible for inventing one of the most famous board games of all time: Monopoly.

Developed in 1904 as The Landlord’s Game, Magie’s invention was meant to critique the injustices of capitalism. Unfortunately, 30 years later, she was ripped off by Charles Darrow when he sold her game to Parker Brothers, but she eventually received $500 for her idea. 

6. Margaret A. Wilcox - Car Heater

We don’t know about you, but when it’s cold outside, we’re incredibly thankful for Margaret A. Wilcox, the inventor of the car heater. 

In 1893, she developed a way to direct air from the warm car engine over the tops of aristocrat motorists in the 19th century.

Her invention served as the basis for modern-day car heaters. But that wasn’t all; she also invented the first-ever combined dishwasher and clothes washing machine.

7. Shirley Jackson - Fax Machine

Dr. Shirley Jackson is one of the most prolific women scientists of all time. As the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. from MIT in 1973, her scientific work is credited with many incredible breakthroughs. 

While working at Bell Laboratories, she completed research that resulted in items such as the fax machine, touch-tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, caller ID, and call waiting.

8. Josephine Cochrane - Dishwasher

If you’ve ever had to wash a dish in your life, then you owe your thanks to Josephine Cochrane, the inventor of the dishwasher. 

Developed in 1887, she marketed her invention to hotel owners. From there, she convinced restaurants to user her invention, and the rest was history.

She eventually opened her own factory, which was sold to Hobart in 1916, which then became KitchenAid and Whirlpool. She’s considered the founder.

9. Hedy Lamarr - Wireless Transmission Technology

Did you know it was a woman inventor who came up with the idea for wireless transmission technology? 

During World War II, Hedy Lamarr invented a secret communications system for radio-controlling torpedoes using “frequency hopping” technology. 

This technology eventually laid the foundation for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS. Lamarr was also a Hollywood Star in her other life. 

10. Margaret Knight - Paper Bag

How would you carry your items home from the store without a bag? 

You have Margaret Knight to thank for the paper bag. In 1871, she received a patent for a machine that produced square-bottomed bags. 

Later she created a machine for cutting the soles of shoes, a sewing machine reels, a paper-feeding machine, a skirt protector, and many other inventions. And it all started at the age of 12 when she developed a safety device for cotton mills, which is still used today.


Who is your favorite woman inventor? Let us know in the comments.