Where Words Take Us – Creation

Windscreen wiper on rainy windscreen
Windscreen Wipers

Creation is the action or process of bringing something into existence. But the word can also refer to the thing being made or invented, especially something showing artistic talent. In the world we live in, however, those creations traditionally belong to the artists and the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word art, is still painting, isn’t it? Even Google agrees, and a search for art images spews a page full of paintings and paint materials.

The humble coffee filter is the creation of Melitta Bentz
The Filter Brew

But I want to widen the scope of the term, creation, and look at the works of three inventors, which have become such an integral part of our daily lives that we never wonder where they came from.

The Creation of Windscreen Wipers

Do you ever wonder about your windscreen wipers, for example? We never imagine a world without them. They’re immaterial when the sun shines, and they don’t even spoil the sleek front view of cars like they used to because they’re discreetly sunken into that little space below the bonnet. For this very reason, the first wipers were designed to be removable in the sunshine, by a woman, no less. Mary Anderson experienced delays while in New York on a snowy day in 1902 because the tram driver had to get out every so often to clean the windscreen. Back home in Birmingham, Alabama, she promptly developed a window-cleaning device for vehicles.

To show the Monopoly board game being played.
Capitalist Fun from Left-wing Origins

The Creation of the Coffee Filter

And what about the humble coffee filter? We pop countless numbers of them into coffee machines all over the world, hopefully disposing of them in an eco‑friendly manner. But what were you to do in the early 1900s if your family couldn’t afford the cloth filters available at the time? You either spent hours cleaning out coffee grounds or get fed-up, like Melitta Bentz. She punched holes in her coffee pot with a nail, lined it with blotting paper from her son’s notebook, and thus invented the first paper filter.

The Creation of Monopoly

And now for some fun with a game we all know. A game created by Elizabeth Magie, who wanted to demonstrate the dangers of capitalism. The game took on a life of its own, though, and made millions of capitalist dollars for Charles Darrow, a friend of Elizabeth’s who had sold it to the Parker Brothers. He never acknowledged her as the original inventor and she was paid only five hundred dollars, as opposed to Darrow’s royalties which he received for life.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


6 Responses

  1. Another great article, Helene. What I appreciate the most is that it touches on one the least highlighted jobs or careers that some women find themselves in – invention. I hope to hear about more female inventors.

    1. Thank you, Anna. The inspiration for this article came from https://brightside.me/inspiration-girls-stuff/10-creations-invented-by-women-that-have-changed-the-world-for-the-better-795921/ There are seven other women you can read about. And if you check at the bottom of the Guardian Article about Elizabeth Magie, you’ll see that the article is an extract of the book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game. It was written by Mary Pilon, and if it’s anything like the article, it will make for a riveting read.

  2. So interesting that Elizabeth Magie invented Monopoly to illustrate the dangers of capitalism, not as an amusement. Terrible irony that she was ripped off herself.

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