Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Did You Ever Invent Anything - Sybilla Masters (1675 – 1720) Did

Did you ever have a good idea about making something but didn’t do anything about it? I did and now someone else is getting rich on my idea because they went forward on their idea. This is a slow way of getting into talking about inventing and inventors. Women have been inventing (or making a better mouse trap if you prefer) for thousands of years. Unfortunately, females could not get a patent. That changed with Sybilla Masters when her husband received a patent from the patent office in London, England on Nov. 25, 1715. Actually, the patent, granted to Thomas Masters, for Sybilla’s invention for a device for cleaning and curing Indian corn, mentions Sybilla. With her device, the corn pulverized by a stamping method rather than by grinding, became more like a rice than a corn meal.

The patent granted by King George I, is as follows: "Letters patent to Thomas Masters, of Pennsylvania, Planter, his Execrs., Amrs. and Assignees, of the sole Vse and Benefit of 'A new Invention found out by Sybilla, his wife, for cleaning and curing the Indian Corn, growing in the several Colonies of America, within England, Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the Colonies of America.'" So Sybilla did receive credit for her invention.

This was the first patent but she didn’t stop there. The next year another patent, under Thomas Masters’ name, was granted for a process of staining and working palmetto leaves to make them into a fabric for decorating bonnets.

Both patents were also registered in Pennsylvania. 

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