March is National Women's History Month a celebration designated by Joint Resolutions of the House and Senate and Proclamations by five American Presidents, that is an opportunity to honor and celebrate women's historic achievements. Each year National Women's History Month employs a unifying theme and recognizes national honorees whose work and lives testify to that theme.
2013 was a banner year for women inventors and scientists. Last year's theme was Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which included a bang up list of inventors and scientists. While a long list of amazing women are being honored in 2014, only a few women scientists are included this year, among those honored:
- Dorothy Arzner (1897 - 1979)
Directed the first "talkie" for Paramount, developed the first boom microphone, was the first woman in the DGA (Director's Guild of America)
- Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler [Hedy Lamarr] (1913 - 2000)
Movie star and inventor who developed a key technique necessary for wireless communication
This year's theme for Women's History Month is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.
Yes Im a big fan of kooky inventions. You know the combination toothbrush/flashlight/compass sort of thing that nobody wants. Popular Science magazine has opened their vaults and put a gallery together of the kookiest inventions to grace their pages. For instance in 1917, one inventor thought you just could not live without a combination piano-vacuum cleaner, adding new meaning to the phrase, "I suck at music." Illustration USPTO
So did you know that the likeness of the cat depicted in the photo above was officially trademarked in January of 2013? That's right. Grumpy Cat the name and image is now a registered trademark and definitely one of my favorite famous trademarks of all time. Grumpy Cat (is not really grumpy) was born April 4, 2012 and whose real name is Tardar Sauce. The cat's appearance is due to dwarfism. Grumpy Cat has become an overnight sensation as an internet meme, however, business deals with Friskies cat food, interviews with Forbes magazine, and even guest spots on television shows like Good Morning America and Anderson Cooper have made Grumpy Cat an even bigger celebrity.
- The Official Grumpy Cat
- Grumpy Cat Protects Trademark
- Corporate Logos & Famous Trademarks
- Have You Trademarked Your Name Yet?
- Mike "The Situation" Had His Trademark Application Rejected
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images Grumpy Cat attends The Friskies 2013 at Arena NYC on October 15, 2013 in New York City.
Learn about the early history of the cinema, camera, projectors, and more. The Frenchman Louis Lumiere is often credited as inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895. But in truth, several others had made similar inventions around the same time as Lumiere. What Lumiere invented was a portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector called the Cinematographe, three functions covered in one invention.
"I got my start by giving myself a start." - Madame CJ Walker. Born in 1867 in poverty-stricken rural Louisiana, Madame Walker was the daughter of former slaves, she was orphaned at the age of seven, and survived by working in the cotton fields of Delta and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Madame Walker and Marjorie Joyner revolutionized the hair care and cosmetics industry for African American women early in the 20th century. LOC Photo: Madame Walker
Dr. Patricia Bath became the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention. Patricia Bath patented a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device to make the procedure more accurate.
Bessie Blount, was a physical therapist who worked with soldiers injured in W.W.II. Bessie Blount's war service inspired her to patent a device, in 1951, that allowed amputees to feed themselves.
Sarah Goode was the first African American women to receive a U.S. patent. Patent #322,177 was issued on July 14, 1885 for a cabinet bed. Miriam Benjamin was the second black woman to receive a patent for an invention she called a Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels.
Valerie Thomas received a patent in 1980 for inventing an illusion transmitter.
Henry wrote to me asking when did the wheel make it to the Americas. Henry had been listening to a radio show talking about the early peoples of the Americas, mostly the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas. The radio show discussed that the wheel had not been introduced into the Americas until the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, which would mean no carts or wagons before that time. Would any anthropologists, archeologists, or historians specializing in this time period like to leave a comment on this? Henry, there is some controversy over the potter's wheel being used in Ancient America. Pre-columbian wheeled toys have been found according to Dr. M. W. Jakeman of Brigham Young University, "There can now be little question but that the principle of the wheel was known and utilized in ancient America, at least in the case of toys."
More Round Things
Brand new materials invented at NASA will usher in a future of new machines with morthing parts, remote self-repairing abilities, and synthetic muscles. In honor of Black History Month we have profiled several amazing scientists that are helping to usher in a brand new future that looks awfully bright.
- Robert Bryant headed the team that invented Soluble Imide (LaRC-SI) the self-bonding thermoplastic that received an R&D 100 award for being one of the most significant new technical products of 1994, part of the team that created Macro-Fiber Composite (MFC) the flexible and durable material that uses ceramic fibers, and received the 1996 R&D 100 Award for his role in developing THUNDER technology
- Award winning engineer Joycelyn Harrison is a NASA engineer at the Langley Research Center researching piezoelectric polymer film and developing customized variations of piezoelectric materials (EAP). Joycelyn Harrison has stated, "We're working on shaping reflectors, solar sails and satellites.
- Since coming to work at NASA Langley in 1987, Stanley Woodard has earned many NASA awards. In 1996, Stanley Woodard won the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions. In 2006, he was one of four researchers at NASA Langley recognized by the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in the electronic equipment category.
Photo Credit: Robert Bryant works on an invention in a lab at NASA's Langley Institute by NASA photographer Sean Smith. Photo Credit: The team of Stanley Woodard won an R&D 100 Award for a wireless sensor system that doesn't need a battery or a receiver by NASA
That's a direct quote from British industrial designer James Dyson, the inventor of those really cool vacuum cleaners with the ball and no bags.
I have to give a shout out to James for starting the James Dyson Foundation and for his dedication to supporting student education in design and engineering. The foundation website is full of valuable resources. Photo of James Dyson courtesy of Dyson Company
MSNBC has put together a fab list of Museums chock full of inventions. If you are traveling stateside this summer do plan on visiting these gems.
What's cool about these places is that it makes you appreciate that these things didn't just appear out of thin air," says Doug Kirby, publisher of RoadsideAmerica.com. "For example, at the John Gorrie Museum in Florida, even kids immediately understand the difference the invention of air conditioning made in their lives." Photo LOC
Before 1938, and before Alex Steinweiss started working for Columbia Records, did you know that records came packaged in a plain brown paper wrapping? Alex Steinweiss changed everything. And caused records sales to increase at a red hot rate. Meet the king of the album cover, Alex Steinweiss. Photo Credit: Alex Steinweiss in New York in 1947 with examples of his album covers in front of him. Photographer William P Gottlieb, courtesy of the Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress