Women in Engineering — Lesser-Known Inventions

By Ashritha Raghavendra

June 23, 2022

Nancy Johnson

Johnson invented a double-cylinder hand-crank ice cream machine before the invention of freezers in 1843. It could separately create and store two flavours at the same time.

Ice Cream Maker

Image Source: Wikipedia

Grace Hopper

Hopper invented a compiler that translated written language into computer code. She also contributed to Harvard’s Mark I Computer and COBOL — an early computer programming language. 

Computer Software

Image Source: Wikipedia

Olga D Gonzalez-Sanabria

The ISS is powered by a long-lasting nickel-hydrogen battery — created by the genius Olga. She was the highest-ranking Hispanic at NASA Glenn Research Center.

Space Station Batteries 

Image Source: Wikipedia

Josephine Cochrane

Cochrane created a motor turning a wheel inside a copper boiler and used water pressure to clean dishes faster. Her patented invention led her to pay off her debts and open her own production factory.


Image Source: Wikipedia

Melitta Bentz

Bentz invented an easy way to make coffee by placing it in a filter with parchment paper and pouring water over it. Her Germany-based company now produces 50 million filters every day.

Coffee Filter 

Image Source: Wikipedia

Lillian Gilbreth

Gilbreth was an engineer and psychologist. She did intrinsic research on the psychological impact of work spaces on productivity and the foot pedal trash can is one of her many ergonomic inventions.

Foot Pedal Trash Can

Image Source: Wikipedia

Maria Telkes

An MIT researcher, Telkes was a pioneer in the field of solar thermal storage systems. She created the first solar-heated system for her home in Massachusetts.

Thermoelectric Power Generator

Image Source: Wikipedia

Patricia Bath

A pioneer in the field of ophthalmology, Dr Bath’s laserphaco painlessly dissolves cataracts before applying new lenses to patients' eyes. This technology is used globally to prevent blindness.

Laser Cataract Surgery

Image Source: Wikipedia