A Woman to Know: Beulah Louise Henry

I invent because I cannot help it. — Beulah

(Beulah depicted with one of her inventions, a bathable baby doll. Image via Library of Congress)

They called her "Lady Edison."

After she secured her first patent in 1912 (at age 25! for a vacuum ice cream freezer!), Beulah was on a roll. By the time of her death in 1973, she'd started two different inventing companies and had her name on 40-plus patents (although some historians estimate she was denied credit for more than 50 other inventions).

But Beulah was the best at one thing above all else: making money. She designed things with an eye for hyper-convenience and marketing to the "modern" consumer. Her products included patents for soap-filled sponges, the open-and-close eyelids on baby dolls, a hybrid copier-typewriter, umbrellas with clip-on cloth covers, a pool noodle, a can opener, "device for producing articulate sounds" (huh?), double-stitch sewing machines and life-like dolls shaped like poodles.

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