Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Did You Ever Invent Anything - Sybilla Masters (1675 – 1720) Did

Did you ever have a good idea about making something but didn’t do anything about it? I did and now someone else is getting rich on my idea because they went forward on their idea. This is a slow way of getting into talking about inventing and inventors. Women have been inventing (or making a better mouse trap if you prefer) for thousands of years. Unfortunately, females could not get a patent. That changed with Sybilla Masters when her husband received a patent from the patent office in London, England on Nov. 25, 1715. Actually, the patent, granted to Thomas Masters, for Sybilla’s invention for a device for cleaning and curing Indian corn, mentions Sybilla. With her device, the corn pulverized by a stamping method rather than by grinding, became more like a rice than a corn meal.

The patent granted by King George I, is as follows: "Letters patent to Thomas Masters, of Pennsylvania, Planter, his Execrs., Amrs. and Assignees, of the sole Vse and Benefit of 'A new Invention found out by Sybilla, his wife, for cleaning and curing the Indian Corn, growing in the several Colonies of America, within England, Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the Colonies of America.'" So Sybilla did receive credit for her invention.

This was the first patent but she didn’t stop there. The next year another patent, under Thomas Masters’ name, was granted for a process of staining and working palmetto leaves to make them into a fabric for decorating bonnets.

Both patents were also registered in Pennsylvania. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Maud Powell – August 22, 1867 – January 8, 1920

Music enhances our lives. I cannot imagine life without music. I have absolutely no musical talent. Consequently, I greatly admire those that can provide us such pleasure.

As with every field of endeavor women have had to prove themselves more than men. Maud did that from the age of 7, when she began her first violin lessons.

Maud was born in Peru, Illinois, surrounded by a family of exceptional people and she was destined to make them proud.

It was quickly obvious that Maud was a prodigy and by the age of 13 was traveling to Europe to learn from world renown musicians.

To learn more about Maud’s life accomplishments and her tragic death, see

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sophonisba (Sophie) Preston Breckinridge – April 1, 1866 – July 30, 1948 Part 2

Some of the other activities that Sophie was passionate about were Hull House, the first major United States settlement house (where she lived), Chicago’s Immigrants Protective League, the League of Women Voters and the Women’s Peace Party.

Probably the most important role she played was as the first women ever to be a delegate to the major international conference, the Pan-American Congress in 1933. The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States was a treaty signed at Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 26, 1933, during the Seventh International Conference of American States. 

Sophie authored many books on children, family and public welfare, including “The Stepfather in the Family,” “Truancy and Non-attendance in the Chicago Schools,” “Public Welfare Administration,” “The Illinois Adoption Law and its Administration,” “Women in the Twentieth Century: a study of their political, social and economic activities” and “The Modern Household.” 

Did you ever hear about Sophie in history class?