March is Women’s History Month in the U.S., a tradition that goes back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911, so there’s no better time than now to salute some of the great female inventors in history. In that spirit, Mashable has created an informative short animated video called “5 Female Inventors You Should Thank!” Mashable gives these women some overdue congratulations, as they created useful, everyday items that make life easier. Some of their creations, in fact, are so commonplace that people may not even think of them as inventions.
Take Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz (1873-1950), inventor of the humble coffee filter. Her simple but ingenious creation came about because she was “frustrated with heavy espresso machines or percolators.” And let’s not forget Mary Anderson (1866-1953). Her invention, windshield wipers, save lives every day. How much did Anderson earn for her labors? Zero dollars and zero cents, as Cadillac didn’t start putting windshield wipers on its vehicles until two years after her patent expired. Bette Nesmith Graham (1924-80) is famous for two widely loved creations: correction fluid (marketed as Wite-Out) and her son, Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Maybe the most interesting story here is that of Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner (1912-2006), who thought up both the sanitary belt and the bathroom tissue holder. As the narrator puts it, “Mary Beatrice Kenner is the reason your bathroom doesn’t look like a horror movie.”