The 19th century was considered the century of men; the women were seen as simple housewives and had not received an adequate education. The famous 19th century entrepreneurs, industrialists, scientists and research practitioners were mostly men.

There were women entrepreneurs, inventors who defied this convention include Margaret Knight well known for founding Eastern Paper Bag Company and inventing the shoe-making machine, Melitta Bentz for inventing the coffee filter machine, Caresse Crosby for inventing the “backless bra” (modern bra), and Katharine Burr Blodgett for inventing the famous “invisible glass”.

Katharine Blodgett was born with a “silver spoon” which gave her the best education available at the time. His father, George R. Blodgett was a well-known patent attorney for General Electric Company (NYSE: GE).

His cutting-edge research paper on gas masks saved thousands of lives during WWI. She was the first woman to earn a doctorate. in Physics from Cambridge University in 1926. She is best known for inventing “invisible glass”, which is used in camera lenses, telescopes, frames, etc. today.

Not: January 10, 1898, Schenectady, New York, United States

Is dead: October 12, 1979, Schenectady, New York, United States

The “tigress” of the human world was the first scientist in the GE research lab. Here are some amazing and lesser-known aspects of his life:

  • Small years: Katharine’s father was shot and killed in his home by a burglar in 1897, before she was born. Shortly after Katharine’s birth, her mother and older brother George Jr. moved to New York City.
  • Gifted: Katharine graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1917, demonstrating her aptitude for science and mathematics.
  • General electrical connection: Irving Langmuir, his father’s colleague, encouraged Katharine to continue her education before joining the General Electric Company. Seeking his advice, she enrolled in a master’s program at the University of Chicago where she studied gas adsorption on charcoal. In 1918, she obtained a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago.
  • His invention saved many lives: His invention of the gas mask saved the lives of many soldiers during WWI. After being impressed with Katharine’s work, Langmuir hired her as an assistant at General Electric. His expertise earned him a post at Sir Ernest Rutherford’s Cavendish Lab as well as a doctorate in physics from the University of Cambridge.
  • She later developed a gauge known as ‘color gauge’ to measure its thickness, which was accurate to a millionth of an inch. About the procedure, she said. Anyone who wants to measure the thickness of a film that is only a few millionths of an inch thick can compare the color of their film with the color series on the gauge. The step on the gauge that matches its color film will give it a thickness measurement”. For this fantastic work Katharine obtained 6 patents.
  • “Invisible glass”: Langmuir described Katharine Blodgett as a ‘gifted experimenter,‘which she demonstrated again in 1938 by inventing’ invisible glass’. She created it by depositing a film 44 molecules thick on the surface of the glass.
  • Later, during World War II, she focused her attention on military applications such as smoke screen machine and airplane defrost.
  • Besides being an intense scientist, she had also acted in his city’s theater group and also volunteered for many charities and civic organizations.
  • In 1963, Katharine Burr Blodgett retired from General Electric and became a role model for women physicists and scientists around the world.
  • The born physicist has devoted her entire life to science and has never married. His revolutionary discoveries led to the invention of camera lenses, telescopes, etc.
  • Awards and recognition: In 1945 Katharine Burr Blodgett received the “Achievement Award” from the famous “American Association of University Women”. She also received the Photographic Society of America’s Medal of Progress in 1972 among many other awards.

The post is part of a Anniversary series where we very often celebrate the birthdays of renowned personalities from the Tech Industry. The series includes entrepreneurs, C-level executives, innovators or renewed leaders who have evolved the industry with their exponential skills and vision. The intention is to highlight the person’s accomplishments and touch on the little known, but interesting, part of their life. You can see the list of all famous tech personalities including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.