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Ethlie a Vare

Patently female

The typical image of an inventor is of a man working alone in his laboratory (which will be something of a mess) thinking up devices which no one has thought of before. In Patently Female Ethlie Ann Vare and Greg Ptacek continue their challenge, started in Mothers of Invention, to this gender stereotype.

Thus we quickly find out about all sorts of things which have been invented by women - liquid paper, vacuum canning, the paper bag making machine and lots and lots more. The book has chapters on inventions relating to medicine, and to agriculture and the environment. There are also chapters on games invented by women and on inventions devised by schoolgirls. And predictably there are inventions related to things which have traditionally been done by women such as housework - it will probably be no surprise that a woman invented the pedal-opened trash can.

But the book didn't entirely shake my image of the lone male inventor in his lab, particularly if you are thinking about the 'mad inventor' type of person. For one thing the authors seemed too cast their net too widely sometimes, including scientists and computer programmers rather than strictly inventors. Also, although the authors point out that often a man gets more credit than he should, I can't help feeling that the case of the Bissell carpet sweeper may be ilumminating here - Mrs Bissell ran the company which sold it for a long while, but it was Mr Bissell who originally built it, thus earning the title of inventor.

So in the end I would say that you will get the most from this book if you ignore the 'Battle of the Sexes' element, and just concentrate on some of the fascinating stories of how some of the things we know so well came into being. info
Hardcover 240 pages  
ISBN: 0471023345
Salesrank: 2241280
Published: 2001 Wiley
Amazon price $23.14
Marketplace:New from $12.49:Used from $1.50
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Hardcover 240 pages  
ISBN: 0471023345
Salesrank: 2210078
Weight:1.1 lbs
Published: 2001 John Wiley & Sons
Amazon price £12.32
Marketplace:New from £12.32:Used from £0.01
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Hardcover 240 pages  
ISBN: 0471023345
Salesrank: 2459111
Weight:1.1 lbs
Published: 2001 Wiley
Amazon price CDN$ 40.75
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 37.29:Used from CDN$ 1.92
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Product Description
Discover the trials & triumphs of great female inventors

Automatic Dishwasher
Barbie Doll
Buffered Aspirin
Cotton Gin
Disposable Phone
Drip Coffeemaker
Fabric Softener Sheets
Hang Glider
IV Fluids
Mars Rover
PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
Protease Inhibitors
Smallpox Variolation
Space Suit
Spic & Span
Tract Housing
Vacuum Canning
Windshield Wipers
Zig-Zag Sewing Machine

and many, many more!

Reviews for Mothers of Invention by Ethlie Ann Vare and GregPtacek

"It's a fascinating and gratifying book..It gives us a positiveview of women's inventiveness, from the frivolous to thenoble."
-The New York Times Book Review

"It is the wide spectrum of female humanity and ability in thisbook that makes it an especially valuable addition to the growingpopular library on the accomplishments and work lives ofwomen."
-Los Angeles Times

"An informative collection of talent, trivia, and history, Mothersof Invention will interest most anyone. More importantly, though,it will serve to inspire girls and women of all ages. For thatreason, it belongs on the shelves of schools and public librarieseverywhere."
-Tampa Tribune

"Wonderful..A book to be dipped into and sampled at one'sleisure."
-The Chicago Biweekly

"This fascinating volume will find a place in the browsing sectionsof both adult and YA collections.recommended."
-Library Journal

One of the "Best Books for Young Adults,"
American Library Association, 1988