DID YOU KNOW??
PAPER COFFEE FILTERS // MELITTA BENTZ
Coffee-lovers have a German housewife to thank for their grit-free cups of joe. Melitta Bentz filed a patent for a paper, disposable coffee filter in 1908. She came up with her filter after piercing holes in the bottom of a brass coffee pot and lining it with a piece of blotting paper from her son’s school notebook to catch the grounds. Prior to her invention, the only ways to get one's morning coffee fix were to make it unfiltered and scoop out the grounds, use a cloth filter and wash it after each use, or to use a brewing method that left a bitter brew—all methods which were messy and a daily hassle. After receiving her patent, Bentz began selling the filters out of a shop in Dresden with her husband and two sons. The coffee filter company Melitta still bears her name today. *
DISPOSABLE DIAPERS // MARION DONOVAN
Marion Donovan made life a lot easier for generations of parents when she revolutionized the diaper industry. By 1946, the 29-year-old former Vogue beauty editor was a Connecticut housewife and a mother of two. The cloth diapers that were ubiquitous at the time were messy, and while rubber baby pants locked in moisture, they also left nasty rashes. Exasperated with what was available, Donovan set to work creating a waterproof diaper cover on her own. The "boater" was made from nylon parachute cloth, and it kept cloth diapers from leaking without irritating babies' sensitive skin. Consumers were smitten, and in 1951 she received a patent for the invention. Her next idea was even more innovative: diapers made from durable, absorbent paper that were intended to be thrown away. After struggling for years to convince the male executives she met with that her product was useful, the idea was taken up by Victor Mills, who used the concept to found Pampers. *
LIQUID PAPER // BETTE NESMITH GRAHAM
Bette Nesmith Graham was a single mom working as an executive secretary when she invented the answer to the typo. Prior to the age of autocorrect, setting copy correctly on the first try was essential to a typist’s job. But for Graham, that was easier said than done. She came up with a solution to her sloppy typing habits after observing a man painting a sign in a storefront one day. Whenever he made a mistake she noticed he'd cover up the blooper with the same paint he used for the background coat. Feeling inspired, Graham went home to recreate the scene on a smaller scale. She ended up creating "Mistake Out," a white, water-based tempera paint solution that matched the color of paper. She started out bottling the stuff in her garage with her son (and future Monkees musician), Michael Nesmith. After changing the name to Liquid Paper, her invention grew into a patented enterprise. Despite her success as an entrepreneur, she didn’t quit her secretary job—though she was eventually fired for accidentally typing the name of her own business in a company memo. *
The Dishwasher // Josephine Cochran
Is there anyone more resourceful than a mom? When Josephine Cochrane wanted a device that could wash dishes faster than her servants could, while still protecting her china, she decided to make one herself. She created the first dishwasher - a motor-powered, spinning copper boiler that had wire compartments for plates and cups. In 1893 her invention was exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair.