Inventions Created by Women Inventors
In 1870, Eliza Murfey patented 16
devices for improving the packing of journals and bearings for railroad-car
axles. These packings were used to lubricate the axles with oil which reduced
derailments caused by seized axles and bearings. In 1879, Mary
Walton developed a method of deflecting smoke stack emissions through
water tanks and later adapted the system for use on locomotives. In the
1880s, many cities developed a mass transit system using noisy elevated
trains. To reduce the noise, Walton invented a sound-dampening system that
cradled the track in a wooden box lined with cotton and then filled with
sand. She received a patent for the system on February 8, 1881, and later
sold the rights to the Metropolitan Railroad of New York City. Other inventions
by women included a railway crossing gate by Mary I. Riggin and several
patents for the construction of railway tracks by Catherine L. Gibbon.
not a traditional railroad, the underground railroad was a critical system
of transporting slaves to freedom in the mid-1800s. One of the most famous
conductors was Harriet Tubman. Between
1850 and 1858, she helped more than 300 slaves reach freedom.
Tubman: Moses of the Civil War
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United States Department of Transportation
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