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Mothers of Invention: From the Bra to the Bomb : Forgotten Women and Their Unforgettable Ideas Paperback – June 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quill (June 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688089070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688089078
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

The latest offering from writer/producer Ethlie Ann Vare, LOVE ADDICT: SEX, ROMANCE AND OTHER DANGEROUS DRUGS (HCI Books, Sept. 2011), takes on the addictions we don't want to talk about... and talks about them, in ways smart, funny, revealing and ultimately healing.

Ethlie is best known for writing and producing popular television shows including GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA, CSI, EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, RENEGADE and SILK STALKINGS. A former rock journalist, Ethlie also worked in front of the camera as a "music gossip" on E! Entertainment Television.

Yet, surprisingly, she is an award-winning historian, whose books and lectures about women inventors are lauded worldwide. MOTHERS OF INVENTION (Wm. Morrow, 1988) and PATENTLY FEMALE (Wiley & Son, 2001) co-written with Greg Ptacek, are still the most-quoted books on the subject.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alan Reed on January 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent source of information about the contribution women have made to our society. As a Middle School science teacher, I find that most of my students assume that inventions are made by only men. They are amazed to learn that women have invented many things, and many of the things we use on a daily basis. I use this book so much that my copy needs to be replaced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Day on June 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is an inspiration to anyone. A kick in the butt to women who are surrounded by un-empower-ers and naysayers who are determined to convince you how stupid your ideas are. The book tells you it's ok to have ideas and it's ok to have to try a few times to get the wing nuts tight. I recommend this book as a guide to anyone who wants to step out of the comfort zone and change the world!!! I credit Ethlie Ann Vare with giving me the inspiration to make music, write scripts and books and patent cameras and re create myself as a cyber rock star at 60 years old! I encourage anyone who has stepped out and accomplished something extraordinary to make sure Ethlie Ann Vare hears about it! Meredith Day/Wowzer 3D Animation Camera/"Rock Me" Cd/"Lost Inside The Mirrors" Album/Meredith Day Photography. Thank you Ethlie Ann Vare, I am honored to be mentioned in your book! And you walk the talk!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Megan Walters on March 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book really helped me with a history term paper. It has very conprehensive information about women inventors who have been forgotten. I was amazed to see how far back it went with it's women inventors. A very useful and interesting book. I would reccomend it highly for both research and pleasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mayflower Girl TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is completely fascinating--and should be required reading for any parent. Why? For two reasons, one--women are often discounted as inventors, scientists, etc. It's important for both men and women to see that women truly can succeed in those fields. Secondly, to see just how much women have been discriminated against in recognition of their work!

I knew about Rosalind Franklin regarding DNA...but I had no idea that there had been so many others. Jocelyn Bell was denied the Nobel regarding pulsars, but I love her attitude. In an article she wrote for UKRC's Astronomy Blog, she said, "While a grad student I was involved in the discovery of pulsars, but it was simply unthinkable then that a student should get a Nobel Prize along with her supervisor. Views were very fixed - there was a senior male scientist (in a white coat!), with minions doing the work. He claimed the reward, and took the blame if things went wrong. Now things are more democratic, more team-based. I have received many awards and accolades over the years. It's more fun getting lots of prizes; if you win a Nobel prize nobody gives you anything else, because they see it as unsurpassable."

Five stars. Easily.
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