From helping to construct one of the most recognisable bridges on the planet to laying the foundation for the invention of many modern-day appliances, women have played an integral role in engineering for several years.
As a company that strongly encourages women’s participation in STEM careers, we’re featuring just four of the most famous female engineers in this blog post to celebrate #WomenInEngineeringDay.
The Brooklyn Bridge in an iconic part of New York City’s skyline and has been featured in countless movies and television shows, but did you know that the standing leader in the bridge’s construction was a woman named Emily Roebling?
Her husband was the Chief Engineer, but when he became ill and unable to work, Emily took on the responsibility of managing the project and eventually became the standing leader.
Upon the bridge’s completion in 1883, Emily was also the first person to cross it, which served as a nod to her instrumental role in its construction.
Windscreen wipers are definitely something we use on a regular basis here in Northern Ireland and we have Mary Anderson to thank for this handy invention.
A standard feature on all vehicles, Mary’s idea for the windscreen wiper was relatively simple, however it wasn’t as easily accepted by the automotive industry.
Mary’s concept was to use a rubber blade attached to an arm which would sweep across the vehicle’s windscreen to remove rain, dust and snow. Those who didn’t believe in Mary’s idea thought that the wipers were a potential safety concern and would distract drivers.
Unfortunately, Mary’s rights to her product expired before the windscreen wiper became widely used in the automotive industry.
Perhaps more widely known for being a 1940s Hollywood actress who starred alongside Clark Gable in Boom Town and James Stewart in Come Live with Me, Hedy Lamarr is credited with inventing the basis for communication technology.
When she wasn’t acting, Hedy came up with a ‘frequency hopping’ technique which enabled her to create a remote controlled communications system that was widely used by the United States military.
Hedy’s theory would go on to form the basis for much of today’s wireless communication technology including WiFi.
The next time you’re shivering with cold and you turn on your home’s central heating system with the ease of a switch, think of Alice Parker.
It’s thought that homes had a central heating system as far back as the Roman period, however, Alice’s invention bears the most resemblance to the central heating system that is installed in most modern homes.
Alice was granted a patent in 1919 which described her incredibly technical, complex and intricate gas-powered central heating system.