Life-Changing Inventions

The first patent for windshield wipers was issued in 1903.

Look around you. Everything you see was invented by someone! Inventors follow a process much like the engineering design process you use in science class. Engineers and inventors start by identifying a problem. Then they brainstorm ideas and consider limitations. Next, they build a model and test their ideas. Engineers and inventors might repeat this process many times as they improve their ideas.

Once an inventor builds something that works, they want to protect their idea. To do this, Inventors can apply for a patent. A patent is a document that gives the inventor legal rights to protect their invention for a period of time. Let’s take a look at two inventions!

Some people invent new things to improve safety. Mary Anderson invented windshield wipers. Before her invention, people didn’t have an easy or safe way to clean their windshields during bad weather. She had an idea to build a device that could clean a windshield easily. She designed a set of spring-loaded wiper arms made from wood and rubber. A driver could pull a lever from inside a vehicle and clear their windshield. Problem solved!

The first patent for a dishwasher was issued in 1886.

Some people invent new things that save time. Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher. Before her invention, people washed dishes by hand. She noticed that dishes were often chipped from rough hand washing. She knew there was a better way to wash dishes. She designed a device that held dishes in place using wire compartments. Hot soapy water was then poured over the dishes. Dishwashers were initially used only in restaurants and hotels. Today, dishwashers can be found in most homes. 

What Do You Think? Is there a problem you can solve by inventing something new?

Photo Credit: (t)Leslie Edwards/EyeEm/Getty Images, (b)Oliver Helbig/EyeEm/Getty Images