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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

Ever imagine what this world would be like without women? Yeah, me neither. But here’s some things we wouldn’t have without them!

Smooth Coffee

German woman and housewife, Melitta Bentz, invented the coffee filter when she didn’t like the bitter and grind-infused taste of coffee after it was filtered through metal. It’s a small part of our day, but I thank you, Melitta, for making my coffee taste good and for making my mornings start brighter. There is nothing I hate more than tasting coffee grinds in my cup. 

The Paper Bag

Cotton mill worker Margaret Knight invented the machine that made flat-bottom paper bags in 1868. Shortly after, a man named Charles Annan tried to patent her work before she could (yuck), but luckily she filed a lawsuit and won. We love a powerful and environmentally conscious queen. 

Windshield Wipers

Do you mean to tell me I simply would not be able to drive in the rain/snow without Mary Anderson? Granted hers were manual, but still, it was only 1903. Although she didn’t get much credit for her invention as it never really took off, she did live long enough to see the automatic windshield wipers become used. She was, rightfully, inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.

Retractable Dog Leash

Dog owner and New York City native, Mary A. Delaney, invented the retractable dog leash in 1908. I have no idea how I would walk my pitbull if it weren’t for this woman. To all the dog lovers out there, know you have Delaney to thank for your walks that let your pooch roam. 


Although we don’t love marine life in captivity, we do love advancements in science, and that’s just what Jeanne Villepreux-Power did in 1832. In order to observe that the paper nautilus grows its own shell, she created the glass aquarium to observe the sea creature for an extended period of time. We love a woman in STEM!

Computer Programming

Ada Lovelace created the world’s first computer algorithm in 1843. She was translating notes for her math professor for an analytic engine. While doing so she tripled the length in new notes, new equations, and a formula she devised for calculating Bernoulli numbers. She is credited as the World’s first computer programmer. Simply incredible. 


Josephine Cochran invented the dishwasher, as we know it today, in 1872. Before then, people had tried to make one but their designs were ineffective. Hers was the first to use water pressure rather than scrubbers to clean dishes. I too hate washing dishes, Josephine, so thank you.

Life Raft

Maria Beasley was a serial inventor best known for her barrel-hooping machine and her improvements to the life raft. She invented the new life raft design in 1880, which featured guard rails and was fireproof, easily foldable for storage and readily launchable. Her life rafts we used on the Titanic to save over 700 lives. 

Fire Escape

Anna Connelly invented the metal stairwell on the side of buildings known as the fire escape in 1887. Her patent and invention led to the first New York City building codes requiring a second exit in buildings in the case of an emergency. I can only imagine how many lives Connelly has saved over the last 150 years. 


Lyda Newman patented the hairbrush when she was just 13 years old in 1898. In New York Lyda wanted to create a brush using synthetic bristles that wouldn’t break when she used it on her own and her clients’ hair. The brush also had an air chamber for airflow and a compartment that collected debris such as dandruff and dirt. Because of her additions, the hairbrush became more accessible to women of all backgrounds. She was the third Black woman to receive a patent, ever. What an incredible and innovative woman. 

Cheers to the women all over the world who have worked and continue to work to make a name for themselves.

Graci Daby

Chapel Hill '22

Graci is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying advertising and public relations. She has passions for digital art and content creating, writing and poetry, fashion, iced coffee, and pop culture.