The Story of 5 Women and Their Incredible Inventions - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

Inspiring Women

The Story of 5 Women and Their Incredible Inventions

Their amazing stories …and the men who stole all the credit.

By 

Margaret Knight

Love shopping? Well then you should know that you have Margaret Knight to thank for all those shopping bags. Paper bags used to be shaped like envelopes. That is, until Margaret Knight decided that she’d like a bag with a flat bottom and redesigned them. When she realized that folding bags this way by hand was difficult, she proceeded to invent the very first machine to make paper bags.

The Story of 5 Women and Their Incredible Inventions

After she created the machine and the bags, she gave a demonstration to a friend and fellow machinist named Charles Anan. He promptly stole her ideas and plans, and filed a patent, pretending to be the inventor. She found out when she tried to file her own patent and was rejected. She sued him and won (her years of notes helped), going on to found the first paper bag making company.

The Story of 5 Women and Their Incredible Inventions

Margaret, “at the age of seventy, is working twenty hours a day on her 89th invention,” reported the New York Times on October, 19, 1913. How inspiring!

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 121 Comments

  1. Cindy Frazier

    Maria Beasley is a life saver. Thanks to you, you saved a lot of lives!

  2. Karla Alvarez

    I will let my daughter read this. This should be at school too. A lot of people doesn’t have any idea who these women are, and men are underestimating women. This is a proof that women are not that easy.

  3. Kelly Osborne

    Informative article. Keep posting articles like this because we learn a lot from this. Some of these can’t be taught at school.

  4. Myron Stephens

    Women of Ancient Mesopotamia?? They are the inventors of the beer?!! Hail to them!!

  5. Jodi Thornton

    Those men should’ve known better! They took a big piece of those women’s lives! Let’s all be aware on who invented these amazing things. Thank you to those women who shared their ideas to the world. They could have improved their lives and lived it easy if those men didn’t steal their inventions.

  6. Marsha Reed

    There should be more originality in people. They need to stop stealing ideas.

    • Maggie Lawrence

      I didn’t know this until today. Honesty is the best policy.

    • Lydia Erickson

      At least we all know now that those ideas weren’t from those men.

    • Patricia Mann

      They just oppressed these women because of their lack in decency!

    • Maxine Hanson

      It’s so hard to be original nowadays as other people may have had that idea already. But then directly stealing other people’s ideas whilst fully aware that you are about to steal them is a different story.?

  7. Catherine Lewis

    Those men just ranaway with the money those women deserved. Sometimes it’s not even just because of money, it’s the act itself that’s disappointing!

  8. Bernadette Garza

    Wow, that’s a lame move. Women are so creative that men had to steal their ideas.

  9. Pam Reyes

    Isn’t it easier to be nice? And just acknowledge good deeds and not steal people’s ideas? I don’t get it.

    • Michele Adkins

      Their ideas were awesome in general, which is why those men felt the need to steal their inventions.

    • Tara Norman

      Now we know what they did and that’s even funnier.

  10. Myra Sullivan

    Informative stuff! Some of us need to be aware that this still happens nowadays.

    • Terri Ferguson

      It does and it’s really sad that we keep on going back to the roots of evil. Just sad.

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