Ingenious inventions by shrewd Swedish women

Everyone can be creative in the area they specialize in. Here, we explore areas in which women inventors have excelled, and what drives them to solve problems.

Questionnaires by Tekniska museetNational Museum of Science and Technology

It's never too late

Women are under-represented in the history of technology. Traditionally, men have been able to educate themselves and to work in the technical field more often that women. It has also been reflected in museum collections. In 2001, the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology began actively seeking inventions made by women. This is a selection from questionnaires received between 2001-2009 concerning inventions of women. Let's take a look at their amazing inventions.

The environmentally friendly diaper Nature Babycare by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Embracing life

Becoming a parent is a big change in life. It is also a driving force for solving problems. Many inventions we collected were associated with the challenges women face, from pregnancy to the years with toddlers.

Sweater for discreet breast feeding "Boob"National Museum of Science and Technology

Mia invented "Boob", a sweater for discreet breast feeding, when her sister had just become a mother.

It has become a very popular piece of clothing.

The Maternity clothes by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

When Cecilija was pregnant in the winter of 2003, she couldn't find any trousers that would cover and warm her growing stomach in the cold weather.

She sewed a pair of trousers and a skirt together, which can be folded over the stomach.

She started a company and patented her invention.

Bed support for prematurely born babies by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

When working at a hospital, Maria and Karin invented this bed support.

It protects small babies in incubators - screening light and sound, and adjusting when the child receives treatment.

They started a company and developed new products for premature babies and their mothers.

The environmentally friendly diaper Nature Babycare by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Marlen had read about Swedish babies leaving a ton of waste diapers every year.

In 1992, she found no environmentally friendly diapers in stores.

She worked with partners to develop a diaper with absorbent material made from environmentally friendly materials.

The furniture pads Vyssan lull by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

The little son of musician Katarina wouldn't sleep. Night after night, they lifted their son's bed, rocking him to sleep until their arms cramped.

Katarina made a simple prototype by fastening a spring to each leg of the bed. Now it was easy to rock the bed in all directions.

The ecological toilet for slum areas Ecoloove by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Sanitation, life and death

Some of the best inventions solve problems in a highly efficient way. Large parts of the world have a lack of drinking water and no sewage systems. How can innovations be adapted for communities with small resources?

The fertilizing pot Towa by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Urine is a good fertilizer, environmentally friendly and much cheap.

Towa, the hybrid watering can and pot to pee in was invented by Åsa.

The can Towa hit the market in 2011 and is sold by stores all over Sweden, including Åsa's web shop.

The ecological toilet for slum areas Ecoloove by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Industrial designer Anna-Maja developed a mobile toilet for slum areas in Ahmedabad.

The waste can even be sold and used as fertilizer.

One important question is: how can we reduce human footprint in the environment?

The water purifier Solvatten by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Every year 1.8 million people die from diarrhea or other stomach related diseases after drinking unclean water.

With Petra's invention, Solvatten, you can fetch, carry, store and purify water to make it drinkable with solar energy.

It has been tested in Nepal and Africa.

Blood Cradle "TriomiX" by Anna GerdénNational Museum of Science and Technology

Health and care

Many women work in the field of nursing and healthcare where they see opportunities for improvements for patients and staff. Some of them start up a business and get a chance to develop their ideas.

The catheter-bag underwear Kadycare by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Assistant nurse Annika noticed that one of the residents of the assisted living home where she worked, struggled with her catheter bag.

As usual, the bag had slipped down to the user's ankles.

She went home and invented the catheter-bag underwear Kadycare.

Support for finger-joints "Fingerfärdig" Support for finger-joints "Fingerfärdig" by Nisse CronestrandNational Museum of Science and Technology

Artist Irene works with her hands and fingers and therefore, she became concerned when she got rheumatism.

With bent and crippled fingers, she would have to give up her work.

To prevent her fingers from becoming crooked she came up with the idea of a ring to support her fingers.

Blood Cradle "TriomiX" by Anna GerdénNational Museum of Science and Technology

Nurse Barbro invented a blood cradle to make the procedure of turning test tubes to stop the blood from coagulating.

Earlier, this was done by hand and if it wasn’t done properly, the test could not be used.

Burial urn by Fredrik PihlNational Museum of Science and Technology

Annette invented the urn made of degradable glass, which after 15 years in the earth turns to sand with the help of moist soil.

In 2012 she was awarded the prize Female Innovator of the Year by QUIS, a network for women inventors.

Dog leash by Anna GerdénNational Museum of Science and Technology

Animal wellbeing

Some inventions show care of our animals. Rose Marie hurt her arm when walking her large dog and it pulled the leash. Thinking that the dog might feel pain too, she started to figure out a leash that would smooth the jolt. The textile leash she invented is loose-braided and protects the arm and shoulder of the dog handler as well as the dog's neck.

The dog toys Zoo Active Products by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Dog owner Nina had less time to train her dogs when she became a mother.

Knowing how important it is for dogs to have something to do in order to be healthy and happy, she invented activity toys for her dogs to allow the dogs to work and play in an easy, fun way indoors.

Horseshoe of rubberNational Museum of Science and Technology

Lone wondered why horseshoes are still made of iron after thousands of years.

She thought it must be uncomfortable and even harmful for the horse to wear iron shoes. Instead, Lone tried to make horseshoes out of rubber.

The horses liked their new shoes and in 1993 she took out a patent.

The dung test "kollamasken" by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

A biomedical analyst in a lab researching animal parasites, Bitte developed a test kit kollamasken.

By testing if horses have worms, unnecessary deworming is avoided.

The dewormers can stop protecting the horse against parasites if the horse is treated when not necessary.

The All Globe by Anna GerdénNational Museum of Science and Technology

Clever solutions

Does it really matter if an inventor is young or old? The inventor finds solutions to problems you maybe ever thought about. We are sure you can be an inventor, too!

The sports bottle Binibottle by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Anna Axelson grew tired of trying to fill her sports bottle between the tap and the bottom of the sink.

She thought that she should be able to fill the bottle from the side instead.

Her invention won first prize in the national school invention competition Finn Upp.

Anti-rape buckle by Peter HällNational Museum of Science and Technology

Many young women feel unsafe when out alone.

Nadja came up with the idea of this buckle when she was studying technology and design at school, in the town of Skellefteå.

It is much more difficult for an attacker to open it.

Ladlestopper Ladlestopper by Anna GerdénNational Museum of Science and Technology

As part of their secondary school, the mates Michaela, Johanna, Caterine, Henny and Anna had the task to start up, run and close a business during the school year.

They came up with the idea of a ladlestopper that prevents the spoon from slipping into the pot.

The All Globe by Anna GerdénNational Museum of Science and Technology

Elisabeth realized the need for a vase that could be used in hospitals without the risk of allergies.

She wanted to bring her brother some, when he was ill but the hospital's rules didn't allow her to do that.

The All Globe is a registered trademark

Credits: Story

This exhibition is based on a collection of invention of women, from 2001-2009. The collection resulted in the exhibition The Inventions of Women, which was displayed at the National museum of Science and Technology between 2008-2014. Exhibitions on the same theme was made to tour, in Sweden as well as Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The first stop was in 2010, in Gomel, Belarus.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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