Name That City! — March 11, 2021

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting female innovators from the US heartland in this week’s trivia.

Here are this week’s questions:

  1. This woman invented Kevlar. Who is she and what city did she hail from?
  2. This woman was the second known Black woman to receive a patent for inventing the precursor to the Murphy Bed. Who is she and where was she born?
  3. This woman secured 15 patents from the late 1870s to the late 1890s for inventions that ranged from foot warmers to one of the most important transportation innovations of all time: the life raft. Who is she and where did she live?

And here are the answers:

  1. Stephanie Kwolek, Pittsburgh, PA—Kwolek graduated from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College of Carnegie Mellon University in 1946. She had planned on becoming a doctor but she was hired to work for DuPont. While there, she invented Kevlar, a high-strength synthetic fiber that has more than 200 uses, ranging from bicycle tires to bulletproof vests.
  2. Sarah E. Goode, Toledo, OH—Goode was born into slavery, but when the American Civil War ended she was granted her freedom. She invented a folding cabinet bed that helped people who lived in tight housing utilize their space more efficiently.
  3. Maria Beasley, Philadelphia, PA—Beasley is known for quite a few big inventions. One was a barrel-making machine designed to speed up the manufacturing of barrels, enabling 1,500 to be produced a day. Her inventions attracted sugar and oil refineries, and royalties from contracts involving the use of her barrel-hooping machine alone amounted to $20,000 annually (which would translate to well over $450,000 today.) She also saw the need for a better life raft that was “fire-proof, compact, safe and readily launched.” Her new design included guard railings surrounding the raft and rectangular metal floats. This design is able to fold and unfold so it is easy to store, even with the rails.

Thanks for playing!