See the man in the picture above?  He was an amazing human being who always encouraged me to think outside of the box and it was 15-years-ago that I stood in Leo's wood shop and shared with him my idea to make sensor activated windshield wipers. What we didn't know until we did a little research is that a man named William Torbet came up with the idea before I did, and he patented it in 1989.

Fast forward to 2011 and one of my best friends bought a new car with sensor activated windshield wipers and she couldn’t stop herself from calling to shriek with excitement that the idea I’d thought I was the first to come up with at the time had actually come to life.

While I missed out on the chance to be the next great sensor windshield wiper inventor, there are several women who saw their inventions come to life and change the world we live in.

  • 1

    Mary Kies

    Keis was a pioneer for female inventors in the United States as the first woman ever to earn a patent in her own name. In 1809, Keiss thought up a way to weave straw into hats, and that turned into a very lucrative business.

  • 2

    Elizabeth Magie

    Have you ever played a game of Monopoly? You’ve got Elizabeth Magie to thank for the fun you've had. Magie created a game called The Landlord Game and on March 23, 1902 she applied for a patent. She was given a patent for her game on January 5, 1904 and eventually, Parker Brothers eventually would recreate the game as Monopoly.

  • 3

    Tabitha Babbitt

    Babbitt was one smart cookie who, after watching some men use a pit saw, thought there had to be an easier way to cut down a tree. So, Babbitt sat down and created what would become the circular saw. She attached a circular blade to her spinning wheel so that every movement of the saw produced results. Because Babbitt was a shaker, she didn’t apply for a patent for the saw, but what's great is that all these years later, Babbitt is still given credit for her invention.

  • 4

    Anna Connelly

    Anyone who’s ever had to use a fire escape can thank Connelly who invented one back in 1897. Other fire escapes had been invented before Anna’s, but it was her fire escape that ended up becoming the basis for modern fire escapes because of its exterior staircase.

  • 5

    Stephanie Kwolek

    When talking about inventive woman, there's absolutely no way we can leave out Stephanie Kwolek. Kwolek wasn't only the inventor of Kevlar, which is the material used to make bulletproof vests, but she managed to secure 28 patents during the 40 years she worked with DuPont.

  • 6

    Ruth Wakefield

    They’re ooey, they're gooey, and they're definitely a comfort snack and they were created by a woman named Ruth Wakefield.  The treat? Toll House chocolate chip cookies. The story goes that Ruth and her husband bought a tourist lodge named the Toll House Inn and people started buzzing about the delicious deserts Ruth made for people who stopped by her place.  One day, Ruth wanted to make Butter Drop Do cookies, but she was out of baker’s chocolate. Ruth reached a semi-sweet chocolate bar that Andrew Nestle (of the Nestle Chocolate Company) had given her and she broke it into pieces, substituting the recipe with it. Because the cookie turned out so good, sales of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate shot through the roof. Nestle worked out a deal with Ruth. Nestle would print Ruth’s recipe on their packaging and Ruth would get a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate. Sounds like a baker's dream come true!

  • 7

    Josephine Cochrane

    Josephine Cochrane's servants had a history of breaking her good china while washing it and she was tired of it. So, Cochrane decided to something about it and in 1886 she received a patient for a machine she invented to wash dishes. That machine? The dishwasher. Most households turned their nose at Cochrane's idea, but she was able to get a couple hotels and restaurant to buy into it and eventually, invention took off with everyday people.

  • 8

    Marion Donovan

    If you’ve ever had to wash dirty cloth diapers, you how just how glorious it can be ti use a disposable diaper once in a while. You have Marion Donovan to thank. The disposable diaper all started with a sewing machine and a shower curtain. Marion hit the streets with her invention in 1949, but it wasn't until Saks Fifth Avenue started carrying her waterproof diaper that Marion finally found success. Only two short years later, Marion sold her company and patent to Keko Corporation for a million dollars.