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Women Who Revolutionized the Automotive Industry: 6 Remarkable Inventions

When it comes to the pioneers and inventors of the automotive industry, names like Henry Ford and Karl Benz often steal the spotlight. However, the automotive world owes much of its comfort and safety to the innovative minds of women. From windshield wipers to car heaters, these unsung heroes have left an indelible mark on the history of automobiles. In this blog post, we'll shine a light on six automotive inventions that were the brainchild of brilliant women.

1. Windshield Wipers: Mary Anderson

In the early 1900s, New Yorker Mary Anderson devised a solution to the challenging task of driving in snow and sleet. Her hand-operated windshield wiper, which cleared away rain, sleet, and snow, was a game-changer. Surprisingly, it took until 1920 for the automotive industry to fully embrace her innovation.

2. Electrically-Operated Automatic Wipers: Charlotte Bridgwood

Charlotte Bridgwood, the president of the 'Bridgwood Manufacturing Company' in New York, recognized Mary Anderson's brilliance and took it a step further. In 1917, she introduced the 'Storm Windshield Cleaner,' the first electronically-operated windshield wipers. Bridgwood's design, which used rollers instead of blades, represented a significant improvement over the earlier invention. Once again, a woman took an excellent idea and made it even better!

3. Car Heater: Margaret Wilcox

Imagine driving in freezing weather without the comfort of a car heater. Thanks to Margaret Wilcox, a female mechanical engineer, we don't have to. In 1893, Wilcox designed a system that allowed car engines to disperse hot air into the cabin, making winter driving much more bearable.

4. Brake Pads and Gear Shift: Bertha Benz

Bertha Benz, the wife of automobile designer Karl Benz, played a crucial role in inspiring various automobile design elements. Her pioneering long-distance journey in an automobile led to the creation of the gear shifter. Moreover, her idea to use shoemaker's leather soles to prevent wooden brake wear eventually gave birth to brake pads as we know them today.

5. Rearview Mirror: Dorothy Levitt

Dorothy, a British speed queen who shattered speed records, recommended that women carry a handheld mirror while driving so that they could hold it up to view the road behind them. Her idea inspired the creation of the fixed rear view mirror, making her the foremother of this essential automotive feature.

6. First Road Markings: Dr. June McCaroll

After a near-fatal incident on the road, Dr. June McCaroll knew something had to change to keep the roads safe. She proposed painting white lines down the center of highways as a safety measure. Initially, her idea faced resistance from Riverside County's authorities. Undeterred, McCaroll took matters into her own hands and painted a mile-long white line (allegedly with cake flour). This determined act ultimately led to the implementation of painted road markings, which became law in California in 1924.

The names of famous male inventors often take center stage in the automotive industry's history. It's crucial to remember the remarkable women who have made significant contributions to this field. From improving visibility to enhancing safety and comfort, these women have left an enduring legacy that continues to benefit drivers today. The next time you hop into your car and enjoy these modern conveniences, take a moment to thank the incredible women who made it all possible.

Here at Old Town Auto Service, we want to continue keeping you safe and comfortable.

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