At present marks the primary day of Nationwide Ladies’s Historical past Month.

To have a good time, we’re celebrating ladies whose concepts, tenacity and innovations modified automotive historical past and the best way we drive our vehicles:

Bertha Benz | Brake pads and the primary highway journey

Let’s begin with the girl who put vehicles on the map. 

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Picture from Onmanorama

Bertha Benz was born in 1894 in Germany when ladies have been denied entry to greater training. She married younger engineer, Carl Benz, and supported his quite a few profession paths, emotionally and financially, together with the invention of the auto.

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Advert for Carl and Bertha’s Motorwagen | Picture from Mercedes-Benz

Nobody was very inquisitive about his motorcar, till Bertha and their sons took a now-famous highway journey. With out Carl’s information, Bertha and the boys snuck the automotive out of Carl’s workshop and took it on the first-long-distance highway journey, from Mannheim to Pforzheim.

It was a tough trip on roads constructed for horses and carriages. She made a number of repairs throughout her journey and even invented the primary brake pad, manufactured from leather-based, when the automotive’s wood brakes failed.

Her tenacity and willpower created the recognition the Motor Automobile wanted to turn out to be the world’s most necessary trendy developments.

Margaret Wilcox | Automobile heater

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Picture from Sofia Applied sciences

Margaret Wilcox was a trailblazer. Born in 1839, she was one of many only a few feminine engineers of the time. In 1893, she obtained the patent for the inside automotive heater when she engineered a system that pulled the warmth from the engine into the cab.

Wilcox’s work impressed the air heaters present in at the moment’s vehicles making our chilly winter drives extra pleasant.

Mary Anderson & Charlotte Bridgwood |Windshield wiper

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Mary Anderson and her patent | Picture from EngineerGirl

We now have each Mary Anderson and Charlotte Bridgwood to thank for our windshield wipers that assist us to drive safely in rain and snow.

Anderson’s thought for the windshield wiper got here to her whereas using on a trolley automotive to New York Metropolis in 1903. As a result of snowy climate, she couldn’t look out the window and benefit from the sights, and the driving force needed to cease always to wipe the snow off the windshield.

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Charlotte Bridgwood | Picture from USPTO

Impressed by her less-than-ideal highway journey, she designed a spring-loaded arm with a rubber blade that may wipe throughout the windshield and could possibly be activated from contained in the automotive.  Constructing on Anderson’s thought only a few years later, in 1917, Bridgwood upgraded the wiper to be electrically operated, her design used rollers as a substitute of blades to wash a windshield. 

Anderson and Bridgwood have been too sensible for his or her time due to their patents expired after not getting sufficient consideration from automakers. Little did they know windshield wipers would finally turn out to be a normal characteristic in all vehicles.

Florence Lawrence | Auto signaling arms

At one level in automotive historical past, brake lights and switch indicators didn’t exist – till silent-film actress Florence Lawrence noticed the necessity.

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Florence Lawrence behind the wheel of a Lozier open touring automotive | Picture from Wisconsin Heart for Movie and Theater Analysis

In 1913, Lawrence invented a tool referred to as the Auto Signaling Arm that, “when positioned on the again of the fender, may be raised or lowered by electrical push buttons,” she described.

Whenever you pressed on the brake, the signaling arm would increase, indicating a cease.

Lawrence by no means obtained any patents for her design, however her thought impressed the mandatory flip indicators and brake lights we now have at the moment. 

June McCarroll | Highway markings

In 1917, whereas driving her Ford Mannequin T down a California roadway, June McCarroll was impressed to create a security measure that saves lives to today:

“My Mannequin T Ford and I discovered ourselves head to head with a truck on the paved freeway,” she defined. “It didn’t take me lengthy to decide on between a sandy berth to the best and a ten-ton truck to the left! Then I had my thought of a white line painted down the middle of the highways of the nation as a security measure.”

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Picture from El Motor

McCarroll launched a letter-writing marketing campaign that gained a lot consideration that painted strains grew to become California legislation in 1924. The remainder of the nation rapidly adopted.

Katharine Blodgett | Nonreflective glass

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Picture from Edison Tech Heart

Engineer and scientist Katharine Blodgett is who we now have to thank for creating non-reflective and anti-glare windshields. 

Born in Schenectady, New York, in 1898, she obtained her bachelors diploma at Bryn Mary Faculty and her masters on the College of Chicago. In 1926, at age 21, Blodgett was the primary lady to obtain a PhD in Physics at Cambridge College.

In 1938, she developed a liquid cleaning soap that, when 44 layers have been unfold over glass, would permit 99 p.c of sunshine to move by way of. Her improvement paved the best way for future engineers to create a extra sturdy coating that wouldn’t wipe off.

Hedy Lamarr | Bluetooth

You may acknowledge Hedy Lamarr from the World Battle II movie The Conspirators, however Lamarr was greater than an actress – she was the inventor who created the expertise in automotive’s Bluetooth options.

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Picture from Wednesday’s Ladies

Within the Nineteen Forties, Lamarr invented a tool that blocked enemy ships from interrupting torpedo steerage indicators. The machine would take the torpedo indicators and make them bounce from frequency to frequency, making it close to inconceivable for an enemy to find the message.

It’s this ‘frequency leaping’ expertise we discover within the Bluetooth options in our automotive letting us speak on the cellphone hands-free or stream our favourite music.

Her expertise may also be present in cell-phones, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Stephanie Kwolek | Kevlar tires and strengthened brake padvertisements

In 1964 chemist Stephanie Kwolek found the artificial fiber, Kevlar. This polymer fiber is 5 instances stronger than metal however lighter than fiberglass. It’s even bulletproof.

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Picture from Smithsonian

Her discovery has saved numerous lives as Kevlar is now used to make bulletproof vests and armor.

At present, we will discover Kevlar in our tires and in strengthened brake pads.

Mimi Vandermolen | Ergonomic controls

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Picture from Ford Motor Firm Archives

In 1970, Ford’s Design Studio welcomed Mimi Vandermolen to the workforce as one of many first full-time feminine designers.

After her first challenge engaged on the 1974 Mustang II, she led the design workforce for the 1986 Taurus inside.

Within the Taurus, Vandermolen created ergonomic controls, dials for local weather perform, buttons with raised bumps, and a curved sprint to make it simpler to achieve controls.  Her work made the automotive extra accessible and accommodating to drivers.

She went on to guide all of Ford’s North American small-car designs and the styling of the 1993 Probe, in and out.

Gladys Mae West | GPS

As a mathematician who labored for the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, Glady Mae West was the challenge supervisor for SEASAT, the primary earth-orbiting satellite tv for pc measuring ocean depths.

11 women who changed automotive history and the way we drive
Picture from U.S. Navy

The work on the 1978 SEASAT challenge helped West and her workforce construct the GEOSAT satellite tv for pc creating pc simulations of earth’s surfaces.

Her calculations and work on the SEASAT and GEOSAT helped make the GPS techniques in our vehicles – we’d be misplaced with out her.

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Racheal Colbert

An skilled author and editor, Racheal brings her enthusiasm for collector vehicles to her position because the Content material Supervisor of the Collector Automobile Community. Former Content material Author and Advertising and marketing Supervisor within the tech and publishing business, Racheal brings a recent perspective to the Journal and the automotive world.