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International Women in Engineering Day
To celebrate the International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, ESC has been remembering and sharing some names that helped shape the world of today.
International Women in Engineering Day
ESC has been posting regularly on our LinkedIn and Twitter page a brief story of some of these amazing women, pioneers, inventors and designers that had a huge contribution in the engineering field.
Some names you may have forgotten or some names you may have never heard of before. Here is a chance meet some of them.
The daughter of poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace (10 Dec 1815 – 27 Nov 1852), as she was known, was an English mathematician and writer widely regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of computers and one of the first computer programmers.
Mostly known for her collaboration with inventor Charles Babbage on his general purpose computing machine, the Analytical Engine, she was the first to recognise the computer had applications beyond pure calculation and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine.
In 2009 the Ada Lovelace Day was created to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The date is celebrated every October.
Sarah Guppy (5 Nov 1770 – 24 Aug 1852) was born in Birmingham and moved to Bristol in 1795. Sarah was an engineer, inventor and designer who developed a range of products but most of all she was the first woman to patent a bridge, in 1811.
She patented the first of her inventions, a method of making safe piling for bridges and granted it free of charge to Thomas Telford. As a friend of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his family she also became involved in the Great Western Railway, writing to the directors with ideas and giving her support.
The mother of six registered 10 patents in the first half of the nineteenth century under the name of “the Guppy Family”.
Edith Clarke (Feb 10, 1883 – Oct 29, 1959) was the first woman to be professionally employed as an electrical engineer and the first female professor in the field in the US.
She was also the first woman to deliver a paper at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the first female engineer whose professional standing was recognized by Tau Beta Pi, and the first woman named as a Fellow of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.
While working at General Electric Edith invented the Clarke calculator, a device that could solve line equations involving hyperbolic functions ten times faster than previous methods.
She specialised in electrical power system analysis and wrote Circuit Analysis of A-C Power Systems.
Mary Elizabeth Anderson (Feb 19, 1866 – June 27, 1953) was an American real estate developer, rancher, viticulturist and inventor of the windshield wiper blade.
In 1903 Anderson was granted her first patent for an automatic car window cleaning device controlled from inside the car, called the windshield wiper. But it was only after her patent expired in 1920 that automobile manufacturing business grew and windshield wipers using Anderson’s basic design became standard equipment.
In 1922, Cadillac became the first car manufacturer to adopt them as standard.
In 2011 she was welcomed into the International Inventors Hall of Fame
Stephanie Louise Kwolek (July 31, 1923 – June 18, 2014) was an American chemist who is known for inventing Kevlar, a heat-resistant and strong synthetic fiber. She was of Polish heritage and her career at the DuPont company spanned more than 40 years.
For her discovery, Stephanie was awarded the DuPont company’s Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement. As of August 2019, she was the only female employee to have received that honor. In 1995 she became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Kwolek won numerous awards for her work in polymer chemistry, including the National Medal of Technology, the IRI Achievement Award and the Perkin Medal.
Beatrice (Tilly) Shilling OBE PhD MSc CEng (8 Mar 1909 – 18 Nov1990) was a British aeronautical engineer and amateur racing driver.
During the Battle of France and Battle of Britain in 1940, RAF pilots discovered a serious problem in fighter planes with Merlin engines, such as the Hurricane and Spitfire. When the plane went nose-down to begin a dive, the resulting negative g-force would flood the engine’s carburettor, causing the engine to stall, posing a potentially lethal disadvantage.
To solve the issue Beatrice designed and developed the “Miss Shilling’s orifice”, which restricted fuel flow to the carburettor and could be fitted into the engine without taking the aircraft out of service.
Beatrice worked with the RAE until her retirement in the 1960s and remained fascinated by racing, both bikes and cars.
Hedy Lamarr (Nov 9, 1914 – Jan 19, 2000), was an Austrian-American actress, inventor, and film producer.
At the beginning of World War II, Hedy and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, intended to use frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. The invention was only used after their patent expired in 1957.
Hedy Lamarr became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award and was welcomed into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the development of her frequency hopping technology in 2014. These achievements led her to be nicknamed “the mother of Wi-Fi” and other wireless communications like GPS and Bluetooth.
Emily Warren Roebling
Emily Warren Roebling (Sep 23, 1843 – Feb28, 1903) was an engineer known for her contribution to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Her husband Washington Roebling was a civil engineer and the chief engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. For the decade after Washington took to his sick bed, Emily’s dedication to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge was unyielding. She took over much of the chief engineer duties, including day-to-day supervision and project management. Emily and her husband jointly planned the bridge’s continued construction. She dealt with politicians, competing engineers, and all those associated with the work on the bridge to the point where people believed she was behind the bridge’s design.
At the opening ceremony, Emily was honored in a speech by Abram Stevens Hewitt, who said that the bridge was …an everlasting monument to the sacrificing devotion of a woman and of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred
Lets celebrate the Women in Engineering!
If you would like to have a name added to our list just leave a comment below.