Knight, Margaret E.

Knight, Margaret E.
b. 1838 Maine, USA
d. 1914 USA
American inventor.
Little is known of Knight's childhood, except that she was probably educated to high school level. She made her first invention at the age of 12, after seeing a woman cotton-mill worker injured when a dislodged shuttle fell on her. Knight set herself to design a mechanism that would shut down the machine if the thread broke and caused a shuttle to fly out. The device was widely used by cotton and woollen mills. Between that and her first patent in 1870, little is known of her activities; but she then embarked on a career of invention, achieving over 90 of them, earning herself the title "the female Edison ". Perhaps her most notable invention was a machine for making paper bags with square or satchel bottoms, which proved to be of great benefit to shoppers until the advent of the plastic bag. It won her little financial reward, but a decoration from Queen Victoria. Her other two main inventions related to the manufacture of shoes and, around 1902, to a rotary automobile engine. She worked for various companies, assigning to them her patent rights, so that at her death her estate was valued at less than $300.
Further Reading
A.Stanley, 1993, Mothers and Daughters of Invention, Meruchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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