Technology Tuesday: National Engineers Week Celebration

Engineers Week 2012 Theme

It’s National Engineers Week!  Time to celebrate all that engineers do and have done to make our lives easier.  This Technology Tuesday will highlight some life changing inventions by women.




Here are just some of the small things that we may take for granted now-a-days:

  • Washing machine vs. washboard
  • Hot water in the morning/evening for a shower
  • Medicine (good bye allergies and sinus headaches)
  • Electricity – We wake up on time with alarm clocks, light during the evening, and watch movies.
  • Vehicles – It’s as simple as turning the key and going. Right?
  • What are some milestones in engineering that have made your life easier?

Women engineers in particular were the masterminds behind some items we often overlook today.  Blasting into the past, below are four women that took their idea and turned it into something great.

Anna Connelly brought to life the life-saving architecture feature known as the fire escape.  The fire escape is an emergency exit mounted to the exterior of a building.  If a building is in a blaze the fire escape is one feature of the building you will be thankful for even if it is not aesthetically pleasing on some buildings.  Anna Connelly was the first credited person to the invention in 1887.  She invented the exterior staircase. 

Melitta Bentz invented the cone pour-over system for coffee.  This invention was the precursor to the modern day automatic drip coffeemaker.  According to the system involves a cone shaped device that resembles a filter holder section of an automatic drip machine.  With a paper filter inserted into the cone and coffee in the filter, the device is placed on top of a mug.  Water is poured over the coffee and the flow of water is regulated by a hole in the bottom of the cone.  You can thank Melitta Bentz to introducing society to the start of automatic coffeemakers.  How many of you have a coffeemaker with a timer, so when you wake up, your brew is ready for you to grab and go?

Ida Forbes invented the electric water heater in 1917.  A patent was issued for her invention on Dec 25th of 1917.   Hooray for warm showers on chilly mornings!

Mary Anderson had the vision to clear driver vision during stormy weather.  Most have had to drive through a snow or thunderstorm.  Windshield wiper have helped up keep the flow of traffic moving by improving windshield visibility.  The windshield wiper was intended to remove snow, rain, or sleet from the windshield using a handle inside the car.  While on a trip to New York City, Anderson noticed drivers opening their windows in order to see.  Her solution was a device with a rubber blade that the driver or passenger could operate from inside the vehicle.  The windshield wiper was invented in 1902 and later patented in 1905.  By 1916 windshield wipers were standard components on all American vehicles.

Many women throughout history have contributed their engineering minds to benefit society.  As you go through E-Week think about all the small thing you use everyday that make life easier for you.  When you get home from class or work find out the history of a device you used and thought of.  See when it invented/patented and whom invented it. 



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