A woman inventor in 1715

Sybilla Masters invented a power-driven method for grinding corn in 1715.

According to Catherine Thimmeah in Girls Think of Everything—Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, this was the first documented invention by an American woman.

“Because America was still a British colony, Sybilla went to England to obtain a patent for her invention,” Thimmeah writes. “Unfortunately, at that time, women were not allowed patents in their own names. In fact, women did not legally own any property whatsoever and were themselves considered to be the property of their husbands. So, for Sybilla to protect her invention, she had to settle for obtaining the patent in the name of her husband, Thomas Masters.”

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