Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ingenious Women – the book


Ingenious Women, researched and written by Deborah Jaffé, was published in 2003. In this fascinating book, she introduces the women who saw themselves as inventors, electricians, engineers, milliners, nurses, motorcar drivers, gentlewomen, spinsters, wives or duchesses, and gives them their rightful title of ‘ingenious women’. This hidden history begins in 1637 with Amye Everard Ball, the first English woman patent-holder and ends with Maria Montessori’s educational equipment in 1914. Hundreds of women are included like: Margaret Knight,  an engineer  who won a lengthy court battle with her employer to retain ownership of one of her patents;  the widowed Martha Coston who perfected her late husband’s idea for signal flares at sea;  Madame Roxey Caplan , the corsetiere, who was awarded the prize medal as ‘Manufacturer, Designer and Inventor’ at the Great Exhibition in 1851 for her corsetry designs and Elizabeth Barnston Parnell who patented methods to extract precious metals from rock. The book ends in 1914 and the outbreak of the World War I which was a watershed in women’s lives but, as this book shows, their innovative ideas had already been making an impact on all our lives for nearly 300 years.More information and to order a copy at: