Home Latest The Innovative Women Who Made A Huge Impact On The Automotive Industry

The Innovative Women Who Made A Huge Impact On The Automotive Industry

We all know women are the backbone of our society. But did you know how important the accomplishments of women are in the automotive field? Get ready for a journey that unveils the remarkable women who have left an indelible mark on the automobile industry with their lesser-known yet significant contributions.

Stay In Your Lane 

Have you ever been told to color inside the lines? June McCarrol was a California nurse who did just that. After surviving a potential brush with death in 1917, McCarrol got to work! The roads of the era she lived in had no markings, and the results could be fatal. So, after nearly being sideswiped, June took matters (and a paintbrush) into her own hands. Before Pete Buttigieg was a twinkle in anyone’s eye, McCarrol was making roads safer one line at a time by literally hand-painting white lines down the center of roads. The concept caught on, as you can see when cruising down the highway. 

Don’t Live Life Looking In The Rearview Mirror 

When she wasn’t a race car revolutionary and royal driving instructor extraordinaire, Dorothy Levitt was an author. In 1909, she released the book The Woman and Car. Among the pages was a simple but brilliant idea: rearview mirrors. Rearview mirrors became a vehicle staple even though they were initially seen as a safety feature for female motorists of that time. Dorothy’s ingenuity and foresight in inventing such a simple yet revolutionary device is truly impressive.

No More Mixed Signals 

There was more to silent film ingenue Florence Lawrence than wardrobe changes and parties. With driving cars surpassing the ye ole horse and buggy, mishaps were bound to occur. Lawrence envisioned a device that would put a stop to such incidents. Enter the auto signaling arm, a predecessor to modern turn and brake signals. Though Lawrence never patented the auto-signaling arm, it is of note that she may have been inspired by none other than her mother, Charlotte Bridgwood. 

It All Got Wiped Away

In 1903, visionary Mary Anderson knew there had to be a better way of driving in inclement weather than getting out every few miles to wipe your windshield. Anderson patented an automatic windshield wiper that took care of pesky precipitation for you. Still, the windshield wiper didn’t take off at the time. Instead, former vaudeville actress and mother of silent film star Florence Lawrence, Charlotte Bridgwood, president of Bridgwood Manufacturing Company, revisited the idea in 1917 when she patented electrically powered windshield wipers. Unfortunately, neither inventor would profit from their venture. 

I Can See It Now 

When driving down the road, it’s unlikely that anyone thinks of the windshields, except in cases of a crack in the glass or bugs that meet an unfortunate end. Have you ever wondered who created them, though? Renowned scientist Katherine Blodgett did. While working at General Electric (GE), Blodgett worked extensively on glass coatings with fellow scientist Irving Langmuir. Building on the research, Blodgett created non-reflective glass, also known as anti-glare glass, in 1938. Future uses and applications of the so-called “invisible glass” included eyeglasses, camera lenses, and, yes, windshields. We owe a lot to Katherine for her contributions to our daily lives.

That’s Hot 

In 1893, engineer Margaret Wilcox decided to heat things up! When Wilcox received a patent for an internal automotive heating system, vehicular climate control got a kickstart. By drawing heat from the engine, the system could heat the inside of the car. 

Get Some New Material 

Stephanie Kwoler, the inventor of Kevlar, a material stronger than steel and best known for its bulletproof properties, revolutionized the automotive industry in 1965. From racing and radial tires to reinforced brake pads, her innovative use of Kevlar and synthetic fibers has significantly enhanced the safety and performance of our vehicles. 

I’d Be Lost Without You 

The Global Positioning System, or GPS, is a navigational tool initially utilized by the US Department of Defense and, eventually, civilian use. Without its creation, who knows where we’d be? American mathematician Gladys Mae West created a model of Earth used in computerized measurements of satellite position detection in Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Though she was not directly involved with its inception, it was her work that catapulted GPS as we know it today.

So, here’s to the everyday women; without their innovative spirits, we’d be stuck in the park.

Featured image via Chevanon Photography on Pexels


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