5 Unknown Women Inventors of the Industrial Revolution and Their Inventions


When we think of the most important names of the Industrial Revolution, most of us undoubtedly think of names like Edison, Watt, Morse, Brunel, Darby and Arkwright. However, there are women inventors who are no less successful than them, but whose names we have not heard. From the first computer program to woven silk patterns, here are 5 women inventors who made major contributions to the Industrial Revolution.

1. Anna Maria Garthwaite (1688 – 1763)

Ivy design by Anna Maria Garthwaite, circa 1740…

While the Industrial Revolution was primarily about mechanical processes, significant advances in design were made during this period. The best example of this is the woven silk patterns of Anna Maria Garthwaite…

Born in Lincolnshire, Anna Maria Garthwaite moved to Spitalfields, known as the silk weaving district, in 1728 and remained there for the next 30 years, creating over 1,000 designs for woven silk. Known for his floral designs, Garthwaite’s drawings were soon exported to many regions from the Americas to Northern Europe.

Despite all his successes, Garthwaite, who was not included in the written sources, did not receive the recognition he deserved. However, his original drawings and watercolors, which have survived to this day, show that he was one of the most important designers of the Industrial Revolution period.

2. Eleanor Code (1733-1821)

Code stone, 1780s…

Born into a family of wool merchants and weavers, Eleanor Code has been associated with the workings of the business world since childhood. This, of course, played a large role in the development of the element-resistant Code stone around 1770 and in his inclusion among women inventors.

The formula of the stone he developed was kept secret for a long time, until 1985. An analysis by the British Museum in 1985 showed that the stone was made of ceramic.

The stone, made by Eleanor Coad, can be seen in the sculptures that still adorn Buckingham Palace, in Southbank Lyon near Westminster Bridge, in the building that houses the Brighton Pavilion and the Imperial War Museum.

3. Sarah Guppy (1770-1852)

Women Inventors

Sarah Guppy was born in Birmingham and has made dozens of inventions thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit. He patented his first invention, a method for making safe piles for bridges, in 1811, and this invention made a great impression on the whole world at that time. So much so that famous 1800s civil engineer Thomas Telford asked permission to use Sarah Guppy’s method based on a suspension bridge he was about to build.

Soon Sarah developed a system to protect ships from mussels, and thanks to this invention, she signed a deal with the government for 40,000 pounds. The bed, which also has exercise equipment, has made dozens of inventions, such as the tea samovar that cooks eggs and keeps toast warm at the same time.

4. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

Women Inventors
Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, is perhaps one of the most famous female inventors in history. So much so that he made a big breakthrough by developing the first computer algorithm at a time when there were no computers yet!

In 1842, Ada was commissioned to translate one of the lecture notes of the mathematician Charles Babbage from French into English, adding to the translation a section entitled simply “Notes” and expressing his thoughts and suggestions on the subject. Ada, who developed an algorithm for calculating Bernoulli numbers in these notes, which are exactly three times larger than the article itself, actually went down in history at that moment.

The invention of Ada Lovelace, which managed to influence the thoughts of even Alan Turing, famous for breaking the Enigma code, is today accepted as the first computer program in history.

5. Margaret Knight (1838-1914)

Women Inventors
Bag machine, Margaret Knight, 1879

Margaret Knight, one of the most prolific female inventors of the 19th century, made her first invention at the age of 12 while working for a textile company. The safety device she invented when she saw another worker get hurt by a machine they used when she was a little girl signaled how productive and smart Margaret really was.

Margaret, who received her first patent for a machine that cuts, folds and glues paper shopping bags, has received 27 patents in her lifetime. Margaret Knight, who is known to dedicate nearly 20 hours a day to creating something new, was nicknamed “Lady Edison” at the time.

We have come to the end of our female inventors! If you like this content, our article below may also interest you:

16 talented women inventors and their amazing inventions

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