The Champion of Women Inventors
By Autumn Stanley
(originally published in Invention & Technology, Summer 1992)
Every crusade has its Jerusalem, every crusader his or her moment when the trumpet call becomes irresistible. For Susan B. Anthony, the suffragist, it was being forbidden to speak at an Albany, New York, temperance rally in 1852. For the birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger it was the death in her arms of an impoverished mother from a botched abortion in 1912. For Charlotte Smith it was the tragic story of a starving St. Louis inventor she met in the 1870s. Charlotte Smith became the champion of women inventors in America at a time when few people dreamed that women inventors held patents...