Can You Match These Amazing Women to Their Inventions?

By: Robin Tyler
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Not only a Hollywood star but also an inventor, Hedy Lamarr helped the U.S. Navy with her invention. What was it?
Spread spectrum technology
Actress Hedy Lamarr, together with music composer George Antheil, improbably created spread spectrum technology, using knowledge each had obtained during other pursuits. This technology helped encrypt control signals for torpedoes so they could not be jammed.
The aircraft carrier
The submarine
A new type of bullet

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What medicine did Gertrude Elion help develop to help fight HIV/AIDS?
AZT
AZT was the first medicine developed to fight HIV and stop it from becoming full-blown AIDS. Its creator, Nobel Prize winner Gertrude Elion, was an American pharmacologist and biochemist. She was also responsible for many other medical discoveries, including the first immunosuppressive drug used in organ transplants.
A throat lozenge
A protein smoothie
An herb-based drink

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Which computer-related innovation did Grace Hopper co-invent, helping users string a set of commands for a computer to execute?
COBOL computer language
Grace Hopper, a mathematician and U.S. Navy rear admiral, was responsible for a number of discoveries. She invented the first programming compiler in the mid-1950s and went on to co-invent the COBOL programming language later in her life. She's known as the Mother of COBOL.
Mouse
Disk drive
Monitor

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American inventor Margaret E. Knight was responsible for a number of inventions. For which is she most famous?
Push-button telephone
Lightbulb
Flat-bottomed paper bag
In 1868, Margaret E. Knight devised a machine that first folded and then glued paper to form flat-bottomed paper bags. Charles Annan, who learned about her machine, stole the design and tried to patent it. After a court battle, which Knight won, she applied for the patent in her own name.
Machine gun

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Still used in households today, what was invented by Josephine Cochrane of the U.S. in the 1880s?
Stick blender
Smoothie maker
Electric mixer
Mechanical dishwasher
Josephine Cochrane earned a patent for a mechanical dishwasher in 1886. She came up with the idea because her precious heirloom dishes were getting chipped when washed. After her husband died, she put her idea into practice, first selling to hotels and restaurants. Such dishwashers didn't start to become common in homes until the 1950s.

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Can you name the invention which made Maria Beasley over $20,000 a year, way back in the 1800s?
Barrel making machine
Maria Beasley was a prolific inventor. Her barrel making machine alone made her approximately $20,000 per year, which would equal nearly half a million annually in today's dollars.
Teapot
Crate
Coffee percolator

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We have Mary Anderson to thank for an important device on our motor cars. Used in inclement weather, what is it?
Car lights
Windshield wipers
A rancher and real estate developer, Mary Anderson visited New York in the early 1900s, where she observed drivers having to stick their heads out of their windows to see during falling sleet. Once she returned to her home in Alabama, she came up with a working model of a windshield wiper that was operated by a lever. Unfortunately, car manufacturers were skeptical, imagining that the wipers would distract drivers. Anderson's patent expired before she could convince anyone to use her invention.
Treaded tires
Window defogger

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Sarah Breedlove was the first female self-made millionaire in the United States. What did she devise that brought her riches?
Hair products for African American women
Working as a laundress, Sarah Breedlove noticed that her hair suffered from the harsh ingredients in regular hair products. She devised her own range of hair-care products for African Americans under the name Madam C. J. Walker. She even set up a school to train fellow African American woman in hair care, helping to create jobs for thousands of people.
TV dinners
Satellite television
Electric knife

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Every morning we should thank German entrepreneur Melitta Bentz for her invention. What do you think it is?
Frying pan
Matches
Coffee filter
Filtering was not an exact science during Melitta Bentz's lifetime, and she was determined to find a way to do it effectively. So, starting with blotting paper, Bentz tried a range of papers before she eventually perfected the perfect filter. And every morning, we thank her for it.
Lemon juicer

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Beulah Louise Henry was a prolific inventor. One of her improvements was loved by secretaries in the mid-20th century in particular. What is it?
Instant coffee
A typewriter that produced four identical copies
With over 110 inventions and close to 50 patents, Beulah Louise Henry was known as "Lady Edison." Her ''protograph" could produce four identical pages of typing. Pretty useful in a time without photocopiers or scanners!
Whiteout
Nail polish

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We have Ruth Graves Wakefield to thank for something we love to have with our coffee or tea. What do you think it is?
Sugar
Chocolate chip cookies
In the 1930s, Ruth Graves Wakefield added pieces of semi-sweet chocolate to cookie dough, because she was out of her usual baker's chocolate. And aren't we glad she did, because that's how chocolate chip cookies were born!
Milk
Crumpets

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Parents around the world thank Marion Donovan daily for her invention. What do you think it is?
Plastic bathtubs
Child thermometer
Disposable diaper
After noticing leakage from cloth diapers, Marion Donovan tried to devise a way to use waterproof material to prevent this. Her early attempts didn't work, but she persisted and eventually created what she called the "Boater." She then went on to invent the disposable diaper – and parents around the world have been thankful ever since.
Pacifier

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Born in France, Jeanne Villepreux-Power is responsible for which marine related invention?
Flippers
The aquarium
Jeanne Villepreux-Power, a naturalist, is credited with devising the first aquarium in 1832. She did so in order to observe marine creatures more closely.
Diving bell
Submarine

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Mary Sherman Morgan's contribution to the space race remained a secret for a long time. What did she invent?
A rocket fuel called Hydyne
Mary Sherman Morgan invented the rocket fuel that launched the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, into space in 1958. Her work only came to light in her later life when her son found out more about what his mother had achieved.
The Sputnik satellite
The lunar rover
An on-board computer

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What did Marie Van Brittan Brown help invent, which today keeps us all much safer in our homes?
Revolver
Bulletproof vest
Home security system
Because she worked as a nurse and returned home at different times, Marie Van Brittan Brown often didn't feel safe home alone. Together with her husband, she developed an early home security system with a camera, a two-way communication device and a simple door opening procedure.
Deadbolt lock

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Police around the world have Stephanie Kwolek to thank for their protection. Can you name her invention?
Shotgun
Kevlar
A chemist by trade, Stephanie Kwolek was trying to find a replacement for the steel in a radial tire when she instead invented Kevlar in 1965. Five times stronger than steel, Kevlar in bulletproof vests has helped save many lives.
Helmet
Siren

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NASA scientist and engineer Jeanne L. Crews developed which of these in the 1960s, still used to protect satellites and space vehicles today?
Space "bumper" to absorb impacts from debris
Objects in space can travel at high speeds; if debris connects with a satellite, it can destroy it. Jeanne L. Crews created a "bumper" from Nextel, a ceramic fabric. Lighter than aluminum, the fabric absorbs energy from a piece of space debris when hit.
Space shuttle
Astronaut boots
Alarm system

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Working in the field of ophthalmology, Patricia Bath invented what in 1986?
Reading glasses
A laser to remove cataracts on the eyes
In 1986, Patricia Bath applied for and received a patent for a laser called the Laserphaco Probe. It helped to remove cataracts and cleaned the eye, making the insertion of a replacement lens easier.
Contact lenses
Blu-ray

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Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta devised a piece of equipment to help relief workers following earthquakes and other tragedies. What is it?
Thermal underwear
Life raft
A solar light source which is inflatable and waterproof
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta knew that a light source that could be folded and kept until needed would be a great help to rescue workers and relief teams. They invented the LuminAID Solar Light. It takes up very little space in relief kits, needs just three hours of sunlight for up to six hours of light, and is waterproof.
Instant water purification

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From these options, which outdoor safety device do you think teenager Ayla Hutchinson created?
A cast iron wood splitter
Ayla Hutchinson, a teenager from New Zealand, decided to create a safety device after she saw her mother injure her finger while chopping wood for kindling. Her invention is called the Kindling Cracker. Wood is inserted into the cast iron device, then it is hit with a rubber mallet or another piece of wood, and this causes the wood to split. Much safer, indeed.
A scissor sheath
Climbing ropes
A waterproof flare

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Need to get out of a burning building? You have Anna Connelly to thank for her invention that allows you to do so safely. What is it?
Fire truck
Fire escape
Anna Connelly patented an early fire escape in 1887 – essentially a bridge that would connect two buildings at the roof line. Since then, fire escapes have become a mandatory part of building safety codes throughout the United States.
Elevator
Fire extinguisher

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Which of these board games, still loved today, did Elizabeth Magie invent in 1903?
Monopoly
Although it wasn't called Monopoly at the time, Elizabeth Magie put together the principles for the board game in 1903 in something called The Landlord's Game. She hoped that her game would teach people about the evils of capitalism.
Trivial Pursuit
Pictionary
Scrabble

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Ann Tsukamoto's work in the 1990s benefits cancer patients to this day. What did she receive a patent for?
Preventing hair loss from cancer treatment
Isolating human stem cells
Ann Tsukamoto was awarded a patent in 1991 for work in the field of human stem cell research. Her work means that we have a better understanding of how blood systems in cancer patients work and one day could lead to a cure.
Blood transfusions
Anti-nausea medication

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Patricia Billings, a sculptor by trade, invented something in the 1970s which had an application in the building field as well. What is it?
A cement mixer
Plastic bricks
An indestructible plaster
Artist Patricia Billings wanted a way to strengthen her sculptures. In coming up with Geobond®, she developed a plaster that was not only indestructible, but fire resistant as well.
Kevlar

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What did Bette Nesmith Graham invent that typists, secretaries and school kids use to this day?
Scissors
Liquid Paper
Although electronic typewriters were faster than their manual counterparts, one mistake and everything had to be retyped. Bette Nesmith Graham overcame this problem by using white water-based tempera paint. She originally called it Mistake Out and soon began to market it to other secretaries. The rest, as they say, is history! By the way, she is also the mother of musician and Monkee Michael Nesmith.
Pencil sharpener
Photocopier

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Livestock farmers have Temple Grandin to thank for a critical piece of equipment used throughout the U.S. What is it?
Branding iron
Feed trough
Center-track cattle restraint
Despite her autism, Dr. Temple Grandin is a prolific inventor. Not only did she devise the center-track cattle restraint system but she also invented livestock handling pens that prevent cattle from getting hurt.
Electric fence

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Loved by little girls around the world (and Ken), "who" did Ruth Handler design?
Barbie
Not only did Ruth Handler come up with the most loved doll in the world, Barbie, but she also co-founded the famous toy company, Mattel. Barbie and Ken were named after Handler's daughter and son.
Cabbage Patch Kids
Furby
Raggedy Ann

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New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob is credited with creating something that offered woman "support." Which of these below do you think it is?
The modern bra
Before Mary Phelps Jacob came along, bras were cumbersome, heavy and made with whalebone, which had a tendency to stick into the skin. By combining two silk handkerchiefs and connecting them with pink ribbon, she invented the modern bra, which she called the "Backless Brassiere."
A walking stick
Crutches
A feminine-looking wallet

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Ann Moore is credited with which invention that brings a mother and baby closer together?
Disposable diapers
The Snugli Baby Carrier
While working as a Peace Corps relief worker in Africa, Ann Moore noticed how mothers tied their babies to their backs in fabric slings. Upon her return to the United States, she devised her own carrier, which eventually morphed into the Snugli.
Baby pacifier
A nursing bra

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Although she didn't invent this grooming tool, Lyda Newman improved on it significantly. Which of these are we talking about?
Hair brush
In the late 1890s, Lyda Newman improved the hairbrush by doing away with animal hair bristles and using synthetic bristles. Her new brush was also much easier to clean and far more hygienic.
Loofah
Hot curling iron
Toothbrush

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Which protective covering did Patsy Sherman accidentally invent in 1953?
Vulcanized rubber
Latex
Scotchgard
It was while working for 3M, trying to devise a new form of rubber for jet fuel lines, that Patsy Sherman invented Scotchgard. A colleague knocked over a beaker of synthetic latex she had made, splashing it onto her white canvas shoes. She couldn't remove the latex from her shoes, but soon she noticed that they repelled water, oil and practically anything else. And so Scotchgard was born!
Clear nail polish

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Tabitha Babbitt was at the "cutting" edge of technology in the early 1800s. What did she invent?
Circular saw
Realizing that a spinning round blade would cut through logs effectively, Tabitha Babbitt invented the circular saw in the early 1810s. She is also said to have invented improvements for false teeth but, due to her Shaker beliefs, she never patented any of her inventions.
Scissors
Laser cutter
Hedge trimmer

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Eldorado Jones help to bring a little bit of silence to aircraft in the 1920s. What was her contribution to aviation?
In-flight earphones
An engine muffler
Aircraft were pretty noisy in the early days of aviation. Eldorado Jones helped solve the problem by creating a muffler for engines that reduced sound but not power. She was also an early feminist, employing only women over 40 at her company, Eldorado Inventions.
Padded cabins
A quieter engine

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Do you know which of these Sarah Boone invented, helping to keep clothes pressed and neat?
Washing machine
Ironing board
Sarah Boone was given a patent for the ironing board back in 1892. Before its invention, people used to iron on a piece of wood, usually secured between two chairs.
Fabric softener
Coat hanger

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Which piece of medical equipment did Letitia Mumford Geer invent, patented in 1899?
Syringe
Letitia Mumford Geer, a nurse, was granted a patent for the one-hand syringe in 1899. It is the forerunner of the modern syringes we use today.
Defibrillator
Oxygen cylinder
Thermometer

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