Mothers of Invention: A History of Forgotten Women

Mothers of Invention: A History of Forgotten Women

by Ethlie Ann Vare, Greg Ptacek

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After centuries of oversight, several unheralded female inventors are here chronicled by Vare (freelance journalist/biographer) and Ptacek (former editor of Rock magazine). Over 100 brief biographies sketch the conditions prompting certain discoveries: for example, serendipity factored in the creation of toll-house cookies. The specter of scandal pervades this collection as, for one, Eli Whitney is exposed for defrauding Catherine Littlefield Greene of fame and fortune as designer of the cotton gin. Other inspirational accounts range from the development of household gadgets (Margaret Knight's brown paper bags), to industrial and scientific discoveries (Lise Meitner's theory of nuclear fission). This ``herstory'' refutes the historical contention that the abstract ``. . . is not the province of women.'' Three appendixes provide additional information about patents. Photos not seen by PW. (January 20)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This fascinating volume will find a place in the browsing sections of both adult and YA collections. As the authors point out, most publications about inventors and inventions are all-male in their scope. Although all periods are covered, most of the entries are for 20th-century women, e.g., Helena Rubinstein, Marie Curie, and Rosalyn Yalow. Brief biographical information is given along with a chatty description of the invention. ``Unsung heroines'' are those whose ideas were stolen or appropriated by more prominent men. Appendixes include how to get a patent. Recommended. Paula M. Zieselman, formerly with Sarah Lawrence Coll. Lib., Bronxville, N.Y.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA ``How different would the world be without. . .the chocolate chip cookie? . . .the discovery of nuclear fission?'' With a catchy title and the fascination of invention built-in, this is the sort of volume that YAs will pick up, flip through, and find engrossing. Women inventors, both serious and frivolous, are laudedthe authors' theme is to give credit to women whose creative talents have been unknown or largely ignored. A mix of professional and humorous achievements with drawings, diagrams, and photographs (including one of a damsel in a corset who later died of asphyxiation) make the book journalistically intriguing. Further encouragement to future inventors is found in the foreword as well as in final appendix, which provides the address of the U.S. Patent Office and directions on how to file for a patent. Although it is not a book to be read cover to cover, amusement and feminist views aside, it would certainly provide lesser-known biographical material and be a source for unusual science facts. Jenni Elliot, Episcopal High School, Bellaire

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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