Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day post

Sybilla Masters, considered the first recorded American woman inventor, lived in colonial America circa early 18th century. Masters invented a type of mill that used hammers instead of grinding wheels to grind corn for use. Since British law at the time did not recognize the right of women to own patents, it was issued to her husband after Masters appealed to King George I himself. It might also be the first patent issued to a colonist. Sybilla went on to patent another invention through her husband a year later - a special weaving technique for straw hats using palmetto fronds. Her husband was elected mayor of Philadelphia, but did not take credit for his wife's invention, which is the only reason why we know the name of Sybilla Masters today.

Although perhaps not explicitly a woman of technology as we think of it today, without innovations like this, we would have not have been able to build to supercomputers and semiconductors. It's a good exercise for everyone to see when people aren't given rights, it doesn't reduce their value; creativity will always out itself. For all those patriarchal societies, you are keeping yourselves down when you keep your women uneducated and subordinate.


Ada Lovelace Day - Join in!

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