Happy Mother’s Day, Connecticut! Well, happy almost-Mother’s Day. You’ve still got today and tomorrow to snag a card, flowers, and gifts or whatever you need to do to show your mom how much you love her and appreciate all she’s done for you. She’s earned the hell out of it.
At Knowledge Green, we’re no strangers to celebrating those who innovate, create, and put their ideas into the world to change it for the better. But Mother’s Day has opened a unique opportunity for us. So we’re going to celebrate some of the most innovative women in our country, our Mothers of Invention.
Ever deal with a dirty diaper? Gross, right? Did you ever have to deal with what came before the diaper? Exactly. Give thanks to Marion Donovan, who developed the first waterproof disposable diaper. This super important little development earned her an election to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015. Born in 1917, Indiana, Donovan went on to earn a master’s degree from Yale University, where she was one of only three women in her graduating class. So if you’ve had to change a diaper, thank Donovan for her invention, because the alternative was far… messier.
Dr. Grace Murray Hopper
The world of computer science owes its development to one brilliant woman, Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, also known as “Amazing Grace,” a computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944. Ever brilliant, she invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and popularized machine-independent programming languages. The languages directly led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages. If you’ve ever used a computer, tip your hat to Amazing Grace.
Take a look at one of the world’s most brilliant chemists, Giuliana Tesoro, a prolific organic chemist with more than 125 U.S. patents. To escape the awful regime of Benito Mussolini, Tesoro escaped to the U.S. in 1939. While in America, she made a significant number of contributions to the fiber and textile industry. One of her best-known inventions is the flame-retardant fiber. She also designed ways to prevent static accumulation in synthetic fibers, and improved permanent press properties for textiles. She died in 2002 at the age of 81, leaving behind a legacy that the world forever owes their gratitude to.
Mary Phelps Jacob
Take a look at the woman who killed the corset and invented the bra. Mary Phelps Jacob, later Caresse Crosby, was the first recipient of a patent for the modern bra and founded the Black Sun Press where she published many modern writers, including Ernest Hemingway. Jacob has had quite the fascinating life, pushing the boundaries of what were expected of women, and doing it without apology. She helped launch women into the future in a way many didn’t expect her to.
Bonus track: Here’s a hilarious Drunk History segment on Mary Phelps Jacob, as portrayed by actress Parker Posey.
Can’t get enough of these Mothers Of Invention? Take a look at some of the world’s most innovative women – from Chicago, to Denver, to Nashville – and how they launched our country even further into the future. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.