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: 71 Comments

  1. Hena Taylor

    The photographers should thank them. I am not familiar with their names, but I am thankful for their inventions.

  2. Jonathon Swift

    In behalf of the men of this generation, I am sorry for the loss accreditation, and I am thankful that you did these inventions that until now we are using.

  3. Lusi Martin

    Apgar is being smart on it. If someone would take the credits, well sorry for you because the name itself is based on her Surname. Haha!

  4. Honey Smith

    Margaret Knight is a lifesaver too! I can’t imagine myself using an envelope type bag for my clothes that I bought.

    • Jessi Agusta

      Haha! That’s what I am thinking too. How hassle it is to bring envelope type of bags when going to the mall.

  5. Bela Christo

    Can you believe that the things that we usually use for our everyday lives are being invented by women? Lol. We should be proud!

  6. Anila William

    I enjoyed reading this. Now I know that the inventors are not just male, but there are female inventors too.

  7. Robert Patel

    This made me speechless for a minute. I don’t know what to say, but I am very sorry. These people, especially Magie, deserves to be known.

    • Cristina Joseff

      They paid them $500 for the patent. $500? Can you imagine how small is that?

  8. Nancy Smith

    These women give a lot of contribution to our life. Can you imagine your life without their inventions? I wish some of them gets the accreditation that they deserve.

  9. Thank you, Mary Jacob! I don’t know how to live without those comfortable bras. Can you imagine wearing other shapes of bras? Lol

  10. The inventor of the Monopoly deserves more, but those men get what she deserves. I wish they live a happy life. They did not deserve all the money and fame that they got from someone’s work.

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