10. DNA models
While James Watson and Francis Crick are attributed with the discovery of the spiral-like double-helix structure of DNA, it was actually a woman who paved the way to their findings.
English physical chemist Rosalind Franklin, PhD, designed a machine that took a photo showing evidence of DNA’s shape in 1952, now known as Photograph 51.
Unfortunately for Franklin, her colleague Maurice Wilkins showed Photo 51 to Watson and Crick, and their work with it was published in 1953.
Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958, before she could find out the male scientists won the 1962 Nobel Prize.
11. Paper coffee filters
There were no coffee makers in the early 1900s, so home baristas would make coffee by pouring hot water over a cloth bag of coffee grounds, which usually left grounds in the cup.
To improve the quality, German housewife Melitta Bentz poked holes in a pot, then placed a piece of blank blotter paper from her son’s workbook inside.
When she poured water over grounds on the paper, Bentz realised she’d hit on a great system. Not only did the grounds stay out of the cup, but the coffee brewed quickly and tasted better.
In 1908 she created her own company, Melitta, which now sells coffee, filters, pour-over and drip coffeemakers and more.
12. Foot-pedal trashcan
Lillian Moller Gilbreth, born in 1878, held a master’s and doctorate in psychology and became the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
She came up with a laundry list of inventions with a focus on making home life easier, including the foot-pedal trashcan, fridge door shelves and a hose to drain wastewater from washing machines.
She and her husband had 12 kids before he died in 1924, and two of their kids wrote books about their family life – one of which inspired the 1950 movie Cheaper by the Dozen and its modernised 2003 version.