U.S. Patent No. 1041X was the first patent issued to a woman, Mary Kies, on May 5, 1809. The patent was for a new technique for weaving silk and thread. The hat industry dominantly used Kies’ (1752-1837) new technique.
Other notable female patent holders:
- Mary Anderson (1866-1953) received a patent on November 10, 1903 for her development of an earlier device that would later turn into windshield wipers.
- Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919), was an African-American washer who up until the age of 37, worked for meager wages. She made her money through her discovery of a hair tonic that would help de-kink hair. Between her hair tonic and real estate ventures, Walker became a very wealthy woman.
- New York socialite, Mary Phelps (1891-1970) created the bra. It was patented in 1914 and the first version was made with two handkerchiefs.
- Gertrude B. Elion (1918-1999), was a biochemist who holds 45 patents in medicine that help fight illnesses such as leukemia and malaria. She also patented a medicine that suppresses the immune system for organ transplants. She was the first woman inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
- Stephanie Louise Kwolek (b.1923), a chemist is attributed to the development of Kevlar, commonly used in body armor equipment.