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Patently Female: From AZT to TV Dinners, Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas [Hardcover]

Ethlie Ann Vare , Greg Ptacek
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 26, 2001 0471023345 978-0471023340 1
Discover the trials & triumphs of great female inventors

Automatic Dishwasher
Barbie Doll
Buffered Aspirin
Cotton Gin
Disposable Phone
Drip Coffeemaker
Fabric Softener Sheets
Hang Glider
IV Fluids
Mars Rover
PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
Protease Inhibitors
Smallpox Variolation
Space Suit
Spic & Span
Tract Housing
Vacuum Canning
Windshield Wipers
Zig-Zag Sewing Machine

and many, many more!

Reviews for Mothers of Invention by Ethlie Ann Vare and Greg Ptacek

"It's a fascinating and gratifying book..It gives us a positive view of women's inventiveness, from the frivolous to the noble."
-The New York Times Book Review

"It is the wide spectrum of female humanity and ability in this book that makes it an especially valuable addition to the growing popular library on the accomplishments and work lives of women."
-Los Angeles Times

"An informative collection of talent, trivia, and history, Mothers of Invention will interest most anyone. More importantly, though, it will serve to inspire girls and women of all ages. For that reason, it belongs on the shelves of schools and public libraries everywhere."
-Tampa Tribune

"Wonderful..A book to be dipped into and sampled at one's leisure."
-The Chicago Biweekly

"This fascinating volume will find a place in the browsing sections of both adult and YA collections.recommended."
-Library Journal

One of the "Best Books for Young Adults,"
American Library Association, 1988

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In their sequel to Mothers of Invention, Vare and Ptacek explore female innovators a role history has often failed to record, let alone reward. The first U.S. patent was awarded to a woman, Hannah Slater, in 1793, for perfecting cotton sewing thread. But the authors quickly demonstrate that women's inventions aren't limited to the home. Both the brassiere and the jockstrap were invented by women. Can't do without that cordless phone? Thank Terri Pall. Interested in voting reforms? Susan Huhn invented the most reliable and mobile voting machine. The brilliance of physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking is transmitted through computer technology invented by Martine Kempf, Leslie Dolman and Carrie Heeter. And Hawking studies the universe in good company: Jocelyn Bell discovered the pulsar, and women invented the Mars rover and the space suit. Dr. Gertrude Elion's immunosuppressants make lifesaving transplants possible, including bone marrow transplants, which were Dr. Suzanne Ilstaad's revolutionary treatment for end-stage cancers and anemias. The major AIDS-fighting drugs, AZT and protease inhibitors, were also invented by women. Of course, not all women's inventions are so dramatic witness the TV dinner, Jell-O, tract housing and Barbie. Vare and Ptacek detail how women's ideas like the cotton gin, automatic sewing machine and even the Brooklyn Bridge have often been attributed to men and how history books and museums like the Smithsonian and the National Inventors Hall of Fame have ignored women's achievements. The book's lighthearted, colloquial style makes it ideal for classrooms, but the lack of specific years for many of the inventions is irksome. Photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Vare and coauthor Greg Ptacek are enamored of inventors and their amazing stories of perseverance. An informal sequel to Mothers of Invention (1988), Patently Female records some improvement in the recognition of women innovators, a development they're determined to encourage, and their conviction infuses their book with energy and pride. Women have always been inventors by necessity, as evident in the tales of secretary and single mom Bessie Nesmith, who gave the world liquid paper (and a rock star), and Mary Anderson, the inventor of the windshield wiper. And onward they march, the clever and resilient women inventors of Scotchguard, Lactaid, the first computer language, the first library database, chemotherapy, AZT, the Mars rover (named the Sojourner Truth ), the bra, Barbie, and many more. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471023345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471023340
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and little known contributions by women August 18, 2002
By A Customer
The book can be read as an entity or read randomly as time allows because each inventor has a brief self-contained section in the larger chapters. The book is well-written and it is not an academic punishment to read. There is enough detail to set the reader into further research but it is light enough to provide information in an enjoyable way. The inventors often have insightful quotes. It should be required reading in schools to encourage more participation in science, math, computers and intellectual curiosity in general.
Not just about science, the book also mentions patenting the brassiere, computer technologies and some weird ideas (skeletons shocking criminals into confessions, anyone?). A nice mix of fun and facts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patently Female November 27, 2001
By A Customer
This book gives you a fascinating look at the contributions that female inventors have presented to the world, from diapers to medical treatments to cutting edge technology. Too often these female inventors are overlooked or don't get rightful credit for their awe-inspiring accomplishments. This book brings alive the ingenuity and resourcefulness of female inventors, who should not be forgotten.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncovers unrecognized achievements of women August 20, 2002
By Nan
Many inventions and achievements attributed to men actually were first made by a woman! Some of the inventions and achievements profiled in this book I was aware of, but many were surprises. Men and women both would benefit from reading this book: Women-to see what women have achieved and as models for what is possible and men- for a wake-up as to the achievements and capabilities of women. Fortunately women are more likely to be recognized now for their achievements, but we still have a long way to go. When I authored a book on small businesses, I encountered many instances where women did not receive credit for their contributions which were often greater than the men in their business. This book is educational and inspirational. Give this book to a woman you want to inspire!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Isis07
I read this wonderful book quite some time ago and was so moved by all the info that i wrote an article on forgotten women of history for a community magazine (with examples from ancient Egypt, India and China. Wish growing up I knew all the great discoveries and inventions women did and are doing even today and not getting the recognition they deserve. [...]
I encourage every middle and high school teacher (and mother) to teach all student about women's contribution in all areas of knowledge and human endeavors. The entire society suffers when women's contribution are not even discussed to this day in schools.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon Verified Purchase September 12, 2012
By Liz
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased two copies of this book to give as gifts to two of my granddaughters (one in college and one a junior in high school). I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the wonderful and innovative ideas that so many women not only thought about, but followed through with. So many of us have flashes of ideas that would make lives easier or would benefit mankind, but how many act on them! This book is fun, easy to read, and inspiring.
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