18 Inventions By Women That Changed The World

Do you like beer? And fire escapes? Thank a woman.

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2. Monopoly

One of the most famous board games of all time, responsible for endless hours of wholesome family fun and/or devastating family arguments, was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904 under the original name The Landlord's Game. Magie's game was a critique of the injustices of unchecked capitalism, making it all the more ironic when her game was completely ripped off by Charles Darrow 30 years later, who sold it to Parker Brothers. The firm eventually tracked down Magie and paid her $500 for her troubles.

4. The life raft

One day in 1882, Maria Beasely looked out at the sea and said, "People should, like, stop dying in huge transportation disasters." And then she invented life rafts. Beasely also invented a machine for making barrels, and it made her really fucking rich.

7. The modern electric refrigerator

Florence Parpart invented the modern electric refrigerator in 1914. In 1900, Parpart also received a patent for a vastly improved street-cleaning machine, which she marketed and sold to cities across America, because she was incredibly badass.

9. The computer algorithm

Ada Lovelace, whose father was Lord Byron, was encouraged by her scientist mother from a young age to become a fucking champion of mathematics. Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage at the University of London on his plans for an "analytic engine" (i.e. old-timey computer) to develop ways to program the machine with mathematical algorithms, essentially making her "the first computer programmer".

10. More telecommunications technology than you could shake a stick at

The theoretical physicist Dr Shirley Jackson was the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. from MIT, in 1973. While working at Bell Laboratories, she conducted breakthrough basic scientific research that enabled others to invent the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.

12. Wireless transmissions technology

Hedy Lamarr's invention of a secret communications system during World War II for radio-controlling torpedoes, employing "frequency hopping" technology, laid the technological foundations for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS. She also happened to be a world-famous film star.

15. Central heating

Every time you feel grateful that you don't have to run around your house in the winter, desperately adding fuel to each room's individual fireplace to fight back the bitter, bitter cold, think of Alice Parker, who invented a system of gas-powered central heating in 1919. While her particular design was never built, it was the first time an inventor had conceived of using natural gas to heat a personal home, and inspired the central heating systems of the future.

18. Beer

Oh, what's that, bro? You're just enjoying a bottle of delicious, super-manly beer? Guess what! Beer is totally a girl's drink. Beer historian Jane Peyton claims that ancient Mesopotamian women were the first to develop, sell, and even drink beer. While it may be hard to pin down exactly who, thousands of years ago, "invented" the beer we know and love today, it's safe to say that ancient women all over the world were sure as hell fermenting something. So next time you raise a glass, make a toast to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of brewing and beer!

A previous version of this article stated that Dr Shirley Jackson's inventions included developments in the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fibre optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting. This has been altered to clarify that her scientific research allowed others to invent these telecommunications technologies.