WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

Do you know of a great woman in engineering that should be recognized? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add her to the blog. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Woman of the Week – Sarah Boone

Posted November 04, 2019 12:00 AM by lmno24

For the next few months, we’ve decided to dig into the CR4 archives and expand upon some blog posts from 2007. Back then, we published a series of lists of women inventors and now we will write full blog posts about those who have yet to be featured. Do you know of a great person to be a subject? Let us know!

Sarah Boone is best known for making improvements to the ironing board as well as being one of the first African American women to get a patent in the United States.

Little is known about the details of her life but her patent application implied she lived near New Haven, Connecticut for most of her life. She was born in 1832 and married James Boone in North Carolina. They later moved to Connecticut. She worked as a dressmaker, which might allude to where the idea for her patent came from.

Her invention was designed to help make it easier to iron a shirt with long sleeves. Traditionally, ironing was done using a table covered in a thick cloth and the iron was heated over the stove or a fire. It was typically done in the kitchen or main room – wherever the heat source was.

Boone’s board was narrow and curved and could fit a typical woman’s garment sleeve perfectly. It also had a support system to flip the garment to the other side without undoing the iron of the previous side. In her application, she noted that if the product was produced, a flat version could be made to iron men’s coats and curved waist seams.

Her invention seemed to solve the problem of unwanted but inevitable creasing in clothing. But it was also compact and could be put in a cupboard. Even today, traditional ironing boards are large and take up space in small living spaces.

She filed her patent July 23, 1891. It was patented on April 26, 1892, as U.S. Patent 473,653. You can view it here.

She died in 1904.

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