IMAGE CAPTION: Mary Dixon Kies: First woman in U.S. to be granted a patent.
Manufacturing Day celebrates making things, educating people on how inventions become products, and how the lessons learned today, shape successes of tomorrow’s inventors.
FactoryoftheFuture.Org is showcasing local (Connecticut) legends for this year’s Mfg Day!
Mary Dixon Kies was the first women to file and receive a U.S. patent for her invention. On May 5, 1809, her patent, for a new technique of weaving silk, straw and thread into work bonnets, was
signed by President James Madison. Mrs. Kies’ weaving method created jobs and economic opportunity for New England cities hard-hit by the French & British Trade embargo. Her timing was perfect as the war in Europe created both a shortage of European hats coming to America, and a huge opportunity for the domestic textile industry. The next year over $500,000 ($11 million- today) of straw bonnets were produced in Massachusetts alone!
While Mrs. Kies was not the first hat-making innovator in New England, she was the first to have the fortitude to go get her invention patented. Under the Patent Act of 1790, women could apply for a patent, but since they were not legally allowed to own property, most women chose not to apply.
Kies lived in South Killingly, Connecticut. Very little is known about her life or her accomplishments beyond her patented weaving process, which was widely used for over a decade. In 2006 (169 years after she died) Mary Kies was honored with the Women of Innovation Award, from the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Hats OFF to this bold inventor and economic firebrand!
- You don’t need to be the first to invent something, but having a patent makes it much more valuable.
- Be Bold – and do what needs to be done!
- The lack of supply of goods creates an opportunity for regional manufacturing.
- Someone invented everything you use today – even hats!
AND as a Special Manufacturing Day Bonus we are giving away FREE Lifetime Memberships to the FactoryoftheFuture.Org