Throughout history, most of the world’s leaders, philosophers, and inventors have been men. Yet many things we know and love today were actually created by women.
Whether these items are fun or absolutely pivotal to our daily lives, inventions by women have contributed a lot to our way of living and helped to shape the course of human history. It’s awe-inspiring to sit back and think of the collective conscious thought that has been the totality of humanity and the contributions certain individuals have made to it.
Here are 10 extremely important things that were invented by women.
10: The Electric Refrigerator
For ages before the advent of the refrigerator, iceboxes were the customary way to keep foods cold and fresh at the appropriate temperature and away from microscopic life that might taint the food and make us sick. Iceboxes were shelving units into which snow was packed during the winter months. This required the grueling task of repeatedly gathering ice to keep your food cold.
But that all changed when Florence Parpart came onto the scene. Outside of some US government census data, we know little about Parpart. But we do have the patent records that show that she invented the refrigerator.
What was missing?
Electricity. She needed to design a way to effectively run an electric circuit through the refrigerator to keep it cool. And what could keep it cool? Gas.
Refrigerators work by turning various liquids into gases, such as Freon. Upon expanding into their gaseous form, they draw in heat from the outside and away from the food. The trick to having this work is making it a circuit of absorption and expansion of the gas in different compartments so that the liquid isn’t all absorbed and needs to be refilled again.
These liquids are called refrigerants. So next time you reach for that piece of Saint-Andre cheese, you can thank Florence Parpart for her pivotal contribution to our world.
9: The First Treatment For Leprosy
Leprosy causes discoloration of the skin in some places and has been a disease mentioned since the days of the original Holy Bible. It has plagued humanity for almost the entirety of its existence. It infects the skin, the brain, the mucous membranes, the eyes, the mouth, and the nose.
Leprosy is a tremendously difficult disease to treat. But some outbreaks have been stopped, and the disease has been contained for many people.
We can thank a woman named Alice Ball, who figured out the administration method for what would become the first effective treatment for leprosy. Chaulmoogra oil, an extract from the seeds of a tree, was only marginally effective at the time, but it could not be eaten without causing nausea and vomiting. Upon injection, the oil wouldn’t properly spread throughout the skin.
Instead, it would just lie in patches beneath the surface and not get to the entirety of the disease. This was highly ineffective. As a chemist, Ball came up with a way to isolate the fatty acids which made the chaulmoogra oil unable to properly spread. She created the first injectable version that did the job.