Let Her Have Brains Too - Business History Conference

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					                "Let Her Have             Brains Too":
 Commercial Networks, Public Relations, and the
                     Business       of Invention
                            Lisa A. Marovich*

                            ofCali•rnia Los
                     University       at   Angeles

      A greatinventormustalsobe a greatsalesman, he wantshis
               to            and          in
      discovery be understood welcomed hisowntime.
                                          Popular    Month•,1931
       In a 1931article entitled                            a
                                "Howto SellanInvention," Popular     Mechanics
writerargued  that all successful           and
                                 inventors patentcommercializers       shared
one important   trait:business sense. From the Civil War era throughWorld
War II, both journalists   and technical   expertsadvised             on
                                                            patentees the
           of             or               of
"business invention," the process developing inventions   new             and
findingthe means marketthem.Inventors           with business sense usedtheir
intuition,             and
          knowledge, personal                in
                                    contacts orderto diffuse    andcommer-
cializetheirinventions. Since patenting             only
                                       represented onelogical      stepin the
profit-seeking process, mostmarket-oriented            had
                                              inventors to anticipate    prac-
tical     for                 well       they
     uses theirinventions before wereperfected even          or      patented.
Theseaspiring   business people            to                    to
                                attempted selltheirnewideas friends        or
strangers, oftensecured      financialsupport  fromoutside         as
                                                           sources a means
to ensure  continued  commercial          in
                                  interest theirinventive  pursuits ["How to
Sellan Invention,"1931].
       For mostinventors,   business       also          the
                                     sense included abilityto delegate
specific      to
        tasks patent    attorneys,                and
                                   manufacturers, otherprofessionals     who
werebetterqualified handle      some  well-defined inventive          or
                                                             problem com-
mercialhurdle.Many "advanced" well-knowninventors,suchas Thomas
Edison             and
      (1847-1931) HenryFord(1863-1947),                    individuals
to tend to the business invention                   on
                                    whilethey focused the process of
developing                 Thosepatentees
           their inventions.              who enteredthe technological
                                          challenges establishing
marketfor the firsttime facedthe formidable        of           good

    ' This paperis an abbreviatedversionof Chapter6 of my doctoraldissertation,
"Fueling Firesof Genius: Women's          Activities American Eras,"Depart-
                                  Inventive        in       War
mentof History,         of         at           June                to
               University California LosAngeles, 1998.I amgrateful MaryA.
      and                for
Yeager DainaL. Ramey theirinsightful                and         All
                                          comments suggestions. errors   and
shortcomings my own.
                                   Twenty-seven,1, Fall1998.
        ¸1998 by theBusiness
Copyright                       Conference.
                          History        ISSN0894-6825.
                                        "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 141

business                 and        the
         relationships raising funds retain    to         patent           and
                                                                 attorneys other
relevant                   Some
         professionals. inventors           started                 by
                                                    theircareers "inventing        to
order" other                and
                   people, onlybegan direct to         theirowninventive     activities
oncetheyachieved      commercial   success            the
                                            through financial                 of
                                                                     support their
patrons ["Howto Sellan Invention,"              If
                                         1931]. aninventor                 his
                                                                 patented or her
invention                 to
           and sought marketit, thereweremanybusiness                  junctions that
could breakdown and thus hinder the already               complicated   processes  of
technological   diffusion. Inventors frequently         to
                                                failed selltheirpatents       because
theyplaced    inordinate                                     A
                           pricetagson theirinventions. few inventors           made
sizablefortunes                        but
                  fromtheirpatents, those        whorefused      decent        in
                                                                         offers the
hopesof gaining      exceptional  wealthoften made financially         fatal mistakes
["SellingPatents,"   1901].
       Between CivilWar andWorldWar II, a second                  groupof scholars
andpopular    writers            the               of            in
                      examined psychology inventors orderto identify
thepersonality   traitsof those             who                     their
                                 patentees commercialized inventions.
In thesame thatPopu•r           Mechanics analyzed  business  sense,  assistantpatent
examiner  Joseph   Rossman              a              study
                              publishedpioneering entitled Ptychology The           of
theInventor. Rossman               176                     who
                         surveyed patentattorneys described most            the
pervasive                           of                           Their
           mentalcharacteristics their inventor-clients. responses,                in
rankorder,   included             (64),
                        originality analytic     ability                    (34),
                                                         (44),imagination lack
of business                                (20),
               ability(26), perseverance observation suspicion  (18),            (12),
optimism andmechanical                   (6).            then
                                  ability Rossman proceeded question      to
      710              to
some inventors determine mostcommon  the                   pitfallsthattheyencoun-
tered on the road to patentcommercialization. responses   Their              included
               (166),                (120), of
impracticability overconfidence lack knowledge (expensive)  (112),
patentattorneys                              (46),
                  (72), lack of thoroughness dishonest       promoters  (43),
discouragement hope of riches(28), and disclosure others(23)  to
[Rossman, 1964]. Women    inventors facedmany these
                                               of      same            in
commercial world,but my analyses           that                  and
                                     suggest overconfidence hopeof
richeswere two rathernotableexceptions. womeninventors,               hck of
knowledge, limited         to        and
                    access capital, restricted                  in
                                                   involvement established
commercial  networks           to
                        proved be threeof the mostfrequently       reoccurrmg
inventive           [Maxovich, 1998].2
      The two groups writerswho explored             business sense  and the
psychological                 of
              characteristicspatentees     madeno systematic      attemptsto
differentiate                             This
                      frommeninventors. paper                 the
                                                     analyzes business    of
         by          the
invention tracing commercial                   of
                                    experiencesthree   female  patenteeswho
         to           and
attempted market diffuse          theirinventions       the
                                                 during CivilWar,World
War I, andWorldWar II) I target      warsbecause             of
                                                   historians technology   -

             this          on               of
    2 I base observation myownanalysis therelevant               which
                                                        literature,   includes
autobiographies writtenby women          biographies womeninventors, the
                                inventors,         of                 and
popular         on
        writings women           fromeach
                         inventors                war
                                         respective era.
    • BothSmith        and
                  [1977] Hourishell [1984]
                                         traced roots theAmerican
                                               the    of            System of
           to                  and publicfundsallocated theseinstitutions
Manufactures the federalarmories                      to                to
        a      bureaucracy
promote military                  p.                 studies explore
                        IHoke,1990, 4].Otherpioneering     that      the
relationships war,economic            and
                           development, technologicalprogress      Beard

includingTurnerPrizewinner                          and
                             MerrittRoeSmith[1977] DavidHourishell
      -           wars
[1984] associate with significant           of         and
                                      bursts invention technological
change,particularly the fields of industrialdevelopment     and military
          Manysocial women's
enterprise.            and                   -
                                    historians includingKarenAnderson
[1981] Susan     Hartmann         -
                           [1982] havealso        that
                                            argued modern     warsstim-
ulatedwomen's  market          Since
                      activities.    women's                       rates
typically        during           war     I            that
                        American eras, hypothesized othermarket-
orientedactivitiessuch as invention,innovation,and entrepreneurship,
followed       patterns womenwereexposed new industrial
         similar        as                     to              materials
andwork environments   [Marovich, 1998].
      The casehistories   revealthat neitherbusiness  sense nor specific
psychological      alone
             factors     adequately explain some
                                           why      femalepatenteeswere
                                                        and diffuse their
more effective in their efforts to market, commercialize,
inventions otherwomen                   I       that
                              inventors.argue whotheywere,whothey
       and                      in
knew, howtheynetworked social political  and                (or         to
                                                      circles related the
general public)                   why
               oftendetermined somefemale            patenteescommerdalized
or marketedtheir inventions     while other women did not. The primary
relationships women       inventors             with             in
                                    developed individuals the market
for new technologies not necessarily               on
                                            based business     first.Women's
commercial  relationshipstypicallystemmed   fromtheircomplex   sociallivesand
various personal  contacts. Womeninventors       usedtheir relationships  and
reputations respected               of                  to
                         members the community bolstersupportfor
their economic            and
                activities business               The
                                       pursuits. fact that suchpersonal
relationshipsoftenassumed   commercial    significance        that
                                                      suggests the fa'mis
                the                        for          the
not necessarily bestunit of analysis tracking history women         of
inventors specific         of          and
                    sectors business industry.
       The women who commercialized           their inventions  represented a
relatively                 of
               proportion totalfemale       patentees.4Patentassignment  rates

and Beard[1930],Beard[19331,Ropp [19621,van Door [19751,Brenner[1985],Hacker
[1994],Hackerand Hacker [1987],Mendelshon al. [1988],Kaempffert[1924, 1941],
Condliffe     Mumford[1967,1970],          McNeill[19821,
                                 Nef [1950],                    [1988],
                                                         Sokoloff     Romer
[1989],          NelsonandWright[1992],Roland            Smith[1985].
                                              [1993,1995],           The U.S.
Patent        and
      Examiner engineer   JosephRossman [1936],however,         that
                                                       maintained a military
           was         to             but           to
environment conducive warinventions, detrimental other         of
                                                           types inventions.
    4 For a useful review of the most recent books on women inventors,see McGaw
[1997].The mostnotable          on                  in
                        studies womeninventors America         includeMerritt [1991],
Macdonald (whoholds  U.S.patent  #4,548,055 a knitting
                                           for           device)      Stanley
                                                                [1992],       [1995],
               .                the
andKhan [19961Khanprovides mostsystematic scholarly and                   of
                                                                 treatment women
inventors      on            of
         based an analysis thepatent      dataandqualitative         Stanley's
                                                              sources.        "Once
and Future Power:Women as Inventors"[19921providesan overviewof her book
Macdonald'sFeminine        is the
                   lngenuify best    socialhistory women
                                                   of                 but
                                                             inventors, it does  not
provide            data
        quantitative or a systematic           of
                                       analysis the patentrecords.   NotableAm#lean
IVomen        the       and            of
      contains names biographies onlythree          women   whowereinventors.  Ethlie
AnnVareandGregPtacek's            of
                          MothersInvention [1988]       to
                                                  claims be thefirstbookon women
         Thoughnot a scholarly referenced
inventors.                       or                                       of
                                             work,it offersbriefsketches popular
femaleinventors. have found that not all of the womenincluded,      however, actually
receivedpatents.Vare andPtacek   usedthissame            in
                                               approach theirsecond     book,W/omen
                                        "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 143

allowus to estimate                   how
                        underestimate) manywomenmarketed sold   or
their inventionsover time. During the Civil War era, 6.6% of all female
patentees        their       at
          assigned patents thetimethattheirpatents      wereissued.This
figure        to
       climbed 9.9%during                                      to
                            WorldWar I, andmorethandoubled reach
25.6%during    WorldWarII [Marovich,              For                of
                                           1998]. thepurposes thispaper,           I
selected  threepatentees    from a largergroupof womeninventors             who left
autobiographies,   personal  letters,and/orpopular             that
                                                      accounts chronicle        their
inventive            Autobiographies personal
           activities.                  and                 illuminate internal
                                                      letters             the
characteristics of women    inventors,           their
                                       including thought       processes,   personal
traits,              frustrations. Popular             on
                                             accounts, the otherhand,allowus
to analyze  society'scultural              of
                               perceptions those    women   whoventured the  into
technological            of
               territory thecommercial        word. Whilethe "paper      trail"makes
these three          a
             women rather      atypical                of
                                        representationfemale     patentees,   impor-
tantfeatures theirinventive       activities       the
                                            reflect larger   trends            in
                                                                      detailed the
                                   and           in
patentdata(whichI compiled analyzed my dissertation) contem-            and
porary  literature[Marovich,   1998].
                                  are           in
        Mostwomenpatentees preserved thishistorical               literature because
someunrelated      eventor personal      experience  madetheir lives particularly
notable.  Women   inventors               as             social
                              functioned suffragettes, reformers,           psychics,
political activists,artists,            and        or
                            educators, wives relatives prominentof              male
figures[Macdonald,      1992;Khan, 1996].Sincefemalepatentees              performed
multiplerolesat various      pointsin their life cycles,  their social   and cultural
experiences   typically supplanted    their inventive  activitiesand technological
significance the largerscheme American  of             history.Retracing    women's
commercial    experiences           the
                            reveals extentto whichtheirinventive            activities
intersected theirresponsibilities        aswives,          and
                                                 mothers, widows.          Moreover,
the toneof each    woman's    writings typically          the        of
                                                reflected state herpersonal
life and her relative level of commercial success.Those women who encoun-
teredsubstantial                 or         in          circles
                        resistance, obstacles theirsocial      and
business           typically
        environments                     bitter
                           grewincreasingly anddisillusioned  over
time. Other more successful                    developed innovative
methods used    theirfeminine       as       that      their
                             identity anasset served greater
economic ambitions.
                         that        in
     Most of the patentees I tracked the historical          and
popular       shared      striking
                    several                  Many
                                 characteristics. inventors came

Inventors Their         [1993],
                Discovedes which  offers         of
                                        biographies prominentbusinesswomen-
innovators  suchas MadamC.J.Walkerand Ruth Handler.           scholarly
                                                   The earliest       essay
      specifically women
dealing          with      patentees
                                          [1981]. a specific
                                               For        though preliminary
study women             in              area,
                inventors onegeographical seeLachman          For
                                                       [1992]. a study  of
            women inventors,see Moussa [1991]. For work on African-American
inventors, Ives[1980,1987],            Hambrick
                            Piper[1989],              and
                                                [1993], Jenkins  [1991].
     Recentgovernment              on
                       publications women patentees     includeMossinghof   and
Luxembourg  [1984],                    of
                   and U.S. Department Commerce,              to
                                                     "Buttons Biotech,"   [1990,
1994].For an earlyanthropological-oriented of women's    rolesin socialand tech-
nological           see
         development, Mason         and         of
                               [1911] a review theoriginal          of
                                                             edition thisbook
       '%Voman anInventor Manufacturer"
entitled       as           and                    Alsosee
                                             [1895].      Mozans  [1913].

                     to                  class
fromwhitemiddle- upper-middle backgrounds, hadat least        and               some
form of education technical          training           to
                                               needed converttheir ideasinto
inventions. Women    inventors   oftenreceived                     from
                                                   encouragement malefamily
members        as
          (such fathers,                and            in
                             brothers, cousins) theireducational            develop-
mentandbusiness                 Yet
                    ventures. manyfemale                        were
                                                      patentees not married          at
the timethattheypatented        (single,            or
                                        married, divorced)        [Macdonald,   1992,
passim;             p.
       Khan,1996, 374].       They  often  turned their
                                                    to      inventive          in
                                                                      pursuits the
                         such                of
wakeof g•eattragedy, asthe death a husband child, whenthey   or       or
                        life            or
facedsomestressful situation identitycrisis.                 Womenpatentees        also
typically        in
         resided geographical         areas, suchas western      urbancenters      and
        port        that
eastern cities, hadhws,political                          and
                                                policies, cultural     attitudes   that
wereconducive women's          market             in
                                       activities general.
       As a distinctive     g•oup,womeninventors           were more shrewdand
strategic thepopular                   of
                             writings thewareras         suggested. A 1906article    in
Inventive argued                              all
                       that by definition, inventors         "...are suspicious    and
entertain lively           for
                 dismast everyone"         ["TooMuchSecrecy,"       1906].  Patentees
hadgoodreasons be paranoid                     the
                                      because parenting       process  trapped   them
in a psychological If inventors                     to
                                          wanted protect       theiringenious   ideas,
                      their          to
theyhadto disclose secrets a potentially-infringing in exchange   public
for adequate                       For
              legalprotection. womeninventors,                 however,   therewere
additional        that
           factors fueled                  or
                                paranoid strange       behaviors.  Manyof themost
notable  womeninventors       were flamboyant,     sociallydeviant, idiosyncratic,   or
just phin "crazy"by contemporary          standards.   They typically  masked     their
economic                 and
            ambitions profit motives claiming    by             that their inventive
activities                        of
          were the products goodwill, divineintervention, fervent          or
patriotism. women                      were likely realize
                            inventors less              to         substantialreturns
on theirinventive             as
                   activities compared theirto        male                they
                                                           counterparts, hadto
be exceptionally              of
                 protective theirideas even  and                        in
                                                        morestrategic theirplans
 for patentcommercialization.    Moreover,    those  womeninventors      who crossed
 traditionalgender                or
                    boundaries defiedpervasive            cultural expectations  were
easier to label as social deviants.
        Some famous male inventors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
alsoshared            personality
            significant                or
                                quirks suffered   fromoccasional  (though
rarelypublicized)  emotional problems.  Abraham   Lincoln,America's  only
"inventor-president," repeated            of            and
                                    bouts melancholy depression.       In
1920,Edison            the          of         a
              explored possibility building newtechnology facil-that
itatedcommunication           the
                      between livingandthe dead[Livesay,     1979].Other
prominent  businessmen  concerned            with
                                  themselves the bacteriological    world,
and actively played                from
                    "hide-and-seek" dirt. HowardHughes       (1905-1976),
thefamous          and
           oil-well aerospace   manufacturer,          and
                                             filmmaker, financier,   once
       by        as            of
dubbed Fortune "theSpook American                     was
                                           capitalism," a germ-paranoid
recluse        his
       during golden            In
                           years. a 1997television   interviewwith Stone
Phillips, hoteltycoon     Donald              the
                                Trumpjoined antiseptic     ranks whenhe
admitted he avoids                  for
                        hand-shaking fearof some             but
                                                    unknown dreadful
           It            to
contagion. is difficult dismiss              as
                                   men such Edisonor Ford as crazed
characters         they           wild         and
          because entertained theories displayed            various forms
                                   "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 145

         behavior. historical
of bizarre      The        record      reveals theiraccomplish-
                                 clearly     that
              their          and                 "quirks"
mentsoutweighed shortcomings, that theirpersonality
        the    of        and       that
triggered bursts invention ingenuity madethemcelebrated
           icons     1984].
technological [Sifakis,
      Though                  women
                lesser-known, inventors                  their
                                               developed owndistinctive
culture and commercial             as                 to
                           patterns they attempted invent,patent,and
market                          in
        theirnew technologies a constraining     environment.  Theirwritings
articulate tension           the
                    between individual             and
                                           inventor the large   corporation;
between  divulging inventive        and
                             secrets protecting              property
                                                  intellectual        rights;
andbetween         a         and       as
              being woman acting a strategic                     In
                                                    profit-seeker. response
to thesepervasive    pressures, womenpatentees    forgedtheir own support
networks included       '•vomen-only" inventors       and
                                                clubs business      meetings.
They solicited   patentagents    and attorneys                   in
                                               who specialized practical
inventions women's        inventive          Theyalsocirculated
                                   activities.                   publications
that were designed inform and encourage        aspiring femaleinventors  and
businesswomen.   Women             used
                          inventors theWorld's     Fairs,             exhib-
itions,and social             as        to          and
                  gatherings forums advertise selltheirinventions.
Some patent-watchers      even argued that political events ranging from
presidential          to
             elections immigration              fueled
                                     restrictions               rates
                                                       parenting among
all inventors maleand female["World's                       Election,"
                                     Fair," 1892;"Presidential
1892; and "Immigration  and Invention,"1927]. A few "patentees-turned-
entrepreneurs"                      or            that
              formedsmallbusinesses companies issued         corporate
stockto womenonly.Still othersturnedto the modemcorporation,    the
research         or
        laboratory, thefederal          as      expanding
                               government rapidly       markets for
             inventions. despite
their patented          Yet        thesenoteworthydevelopments,men
                     still       a
and womenpatentees shared largerinventive                  that
                                                environment was
shaped the social,            and economic
                     political,                   of
                                           currents three distinctive
American   wars.

The Civil War Eta

      TheCivil             a
               Warmarked tummg              in           of
                                      point thehistory women's      inventive
activities      morewomen      received   patents       the
                                                 during fouryears the  of
               the                           period
war thanduring entireseventy-one-year between Patent of     the        Act
1790(which             the
            established patent              and           of
                                   system) the onset thewar in 1861
[Marovich, 1998].Martha  Hunt Coston    (1828-1902)        as
                                                    stands oneof themost
well-known widely-respected     female            of
                                         inventors theCivilWar erabecause
she            a          of
   manipulatednetwork relatives,                     and           to
                                       businessmen, politicians develop
her inventions bolsterher commercial                    As
                                              activities. a sixteen   year-old
Philadelphiaschool girl, shefell in lovewith Benjamin    Franklin Coston,  an
ingenious navyinventor   who had successfully               a
                                                 developed variety newof
            for              A
technologies the military. yearlater,the couple                and
                                                       eloped madetheir
home in Washington,     D.C., where they enjoyed       busy sociallives and
distinguished        circles included
             political       that           HenryClayandGeneral      Winfield
Scott.Earlyin theirmarriage,  Congress   made                 for
                                               appropriations Benjamin     to
directa pyrotechnic             at
                    laboratory the Washington         Navy Yard. Benjamin's

healthwasso adversely        by
                     affected the constant          of
                                           inhahtion chemical  gases
during scientific           that           as        of
                 experiments he resigned director thelaboratory,
            a       as             of          Gas
andacceptedposition thepresident theBoston Company)
                   and        five    of
      Afterfoursons nearly years marriage,                died
                                                  Benjamin froma
three-month          illness.
           respiratory      Shortly          both Martha's
                                   thereafter,           motherand
hersecond      son, named
          oldest also                  became anddied.
                               Benjamin,       sick        Theyoung
widow was in a state of emotional distress and financial turmoil. She described
herordeal herautobiography.
                             my                  and
       To be brief, through own ignorance the duplicity          of
       others, trustingtoo much to an improvidentrelativewho
                  my       I
       misplaced money, found            at            a
                                   myself twenty-onewidow      with
                         and           I
       threelittlechildren penniless.knewnot how to dig,I was
       ashamed beg;and long and intentlyI pondered         upon the
       course should          and          I
                       pursue, earnestly wished      that naturehad
       bestowed   uponme a little of that brilliant       so
                                                   genius liberally
       given myhusband    [Coston,       pp.
                                   1886, 37-38].
     While mourning    her relatives,                    a
                                     Martharemembered box where her
husband        his
        stored business    papers. There,shefoundroughsketches hisof
pyrotechnicnightsignals.           first
                         Benjamin began              the
                                             testing signals   underthe
navyauspices Hampton     Roads,  VirginiaandWashington   NavyYard some
two decades                                      in
            beforethe Civil War. The system, completed        form, was
intended employ    differentcolored           fires
                                    pyrotechnic in an arrangement   that
allowed                 and          to
                senders receivers communicate       between      points.
Martha        to               her         ideas
      decided tryto develop husband's intoa viable technol- new
ogy.Overthe course several          she              with
                              years, corresponded various       chemists
and scientists to obtain the much-needed technical information that she lacked.
Martha"...opened                with       of
                  communication several them,under man'sa      name,
       they      not
fearing would give           to
                         heed awoman..."          1886, 45].
                                           [Coston,    p.
      In 1859,Martha       patented "Pyrotechnic
                     finally       the                         As
                                                 Night-Signals." the
administratrix Benjamin's       she             in
                          estate, filedthepatent herhusband's   name
            she           and
eventhough developed improved original the       sketches        This
provedto be a very strategic businessmaneuver. Marthamanipulated   her
husband's commercial             and      his
                     relationships used prestigious              as
                                                      reputation a
decoratednaval         to       a      for         The
               inventor attract buyer the signal. well-connected
widoweven JohnQuincy               an
                            Adams, old family acquaintance,witness and
signher patentapplication.                the
                          Onceshesecured patent,   Marthafollowed   in
herhusband's          and
             footsteps sold   three        sets        to
                                   hundred of signals thenavyfor
six thousanddolhrs. She also strucka deal with a New York manufacturer,
       A.           who      to
Gustavus l.illiendahl, agreed mass         the      for
                                     produce signals thenewly
formedCoston       Company.
              Supply                  patented
                           l.illiendahl            improvements

    s For information Martha        and             night     see
                             Coston the pyrotechnic signals, Coston
[1886],Coston5        Night
              Telegraphic Signah[1873],"The Coston         Signals"
                                                  Telegraphic     [1876],
        [1876], "TheCoston
Stebbings      and          Light"[1978].
                                 "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 147

on thesignal,    Martha         in      to       both
                        purchasedorder maintain financial and
legal                      product
           overherinnovative      [Coston,    p.
                                          1886, 54].6
      WhenConfederate forces       fire            in
                            opened on Fort Sumter 1861,Martha
organized wartime           of          She
                   production hersignals. explainedthat
      the thought            to               of
                 alsooccurred me that in case war, what a
            auxiliary signals
     valuable       my      would     for     The night
                                 prove thenavy!
     would lose half its terrors at sea, when in the darkness and
      through storm     ships      talk
                             could to each         as
                                              other though  gifted
      with the tongue man,andvictories     won largely throughthe
      common                 that
                understanding, could    neverhavebeenachieved  by
      the Fresnel lanterns,whichup to thistimehadbeenthe only
      means naval                   at     and
                      communicationnight, consisting     merelyof
      threecolored         run
                    lanterns up a pole,andin a mistundiscemible
      [si4;whiletheCoston  Signalscould      be     at
                                        easily seen a distance  of
      fifteenor twenty      and
                       miles, in the fiercest     of
                                              gales windandrain
      at a distance several miles[Coston,1886,p. 84].
                     to            to        her
WhenMarthaprepared askCongress purchase patent               as
                                                       rights a war
measure, learned               otherparties
                    that several           were formingcompanies to
           the        for
manufacture signals the military,             infringe her patents.
                                    and thereby       on
Accompanied a prominent      memberof the Senate,  Martha attendeda
       meeting oneof thecompanies defended rights theowner
business       at                   and         her      as
of theCostonSignal.
      ...I presented                                    for
                      myselfbeforethem, and, apologizing the
      intrusion, said,"I cameto warnyou that I am awareof your
      intention,and shallnot interfereunlessI find that you are
      infringing my patent,whichI shalldefendto the umaost
              of              I      full          for
      extent thelaw,unless receive recompense theuseof
                                            whichI hadbrought
      it." I thenreadthema copyof the patent,
      with me [Coston,  1886,p. 89].
      This bold visit stopped infringing      company  and stimulated  the
         of                        that
Secretary theNavyto recommend Congress                   the        so
                                                 purchase patent that
the Unioncould              the         In
                manufacture signals. a narrow                       on
                                                   votethatturned the
ballotof Senator             Congress
                 Breckenridge,         purchased  CostoWs patent rightsfor
        (as        to
$20,000 opposed theinitial             that originally
                               $40,000 she                         Of
                                                        requested). that
sum,eightthousand   dollarsimmediately wentto Martha's  manufacturer  who
hadalready  devoted     of                  to          the
                   years workandmoney perfecting signals.          During
thewar,theCoston   SignalCompany              to             the
                                   continued manufacture signals       for
themih'tary a marginal                the
                        profitbecause government            the
                                                     lacked appropriate
machinery,          and
            laborers, finances             to
                                  needed produce      suchtechnologically
sophisticated reliable         in
                       devices thewakeof a national    crisis[Coston,1886,
pp. 89-92].

             autobiography refers Lilliendahl name, he is listedas the
    6 Costoh's          never     to        by    but
       on      of
inventor some therelevantpatents.

     The CostonSignals   were a tremendous                  The
                                            wartimesuccess. Union
    the        to               into       on
used signals ordergunboats action the Mississippi           River,send
theNorthAtlantic Squadron        Fort        and         the
                          against Fisher, announce capture          of
theConfederatebastion.WhentheMonitor        to    in      the
                                      began sink 1862, navy       used
a Coston      to          help         the     of
        Signal summon andsave lives at least persons    ten        on
board. theendof thewar,theU.S.Lifesaving     Service        a
                                                    provided domestic
marketfor the signals        the
                     because valueof the new technology     madethem
standard           at                on
        equipment lifeboatstations the seacoasts      and G•eat Lakes
["TheCoston             pp.
            Light,"1978, 1-2].
     The Coston         also
                  Signals grew              popular thepostbellum
                                 increasingly      in              era
because Martha networked in order to secure a market for her inventions. In
New York City,shewinedanddinedwith Professor       L.
                                              Samuel Morse,Com-
missioner the1867Paris           on           who
                        Exposition Telegraphy, later        to
                                                     referred the
workof "theaccomplished          in        to
                        inventress"hisreport Congress[Coston,1886,
pp.75-76]. also           a
                                        entitled    Tekgraphic
                                               Coston•       Night
     [1873], recounted history thesignal advertisedasa life-
Signal•     that          the     of         and         it
saving maritime wonder. Several  popular journals, including  Harper'•  Monthly
Magazine [1863],Demorest• Monthly Maga•m[1876],    andtheNe•vYorkTribune
[1879]         on
      reported thewartime          of
                            utility theCoston            and
                                                Signals, praised      Mattha's
workasaninnovative                   and
                     businesswomanpatriotic                 In
                                                  inventor. Ne•v     Centuryfir
IVoman       Martha wrotea public
       [1876],       also                   to                of
                                       letter thePresident theWomen's
Department the1876Centennial                 to        for
                                  Exposition lobby a space thesig-  for
                    hall.            were
nalsin theexhibition The signals ultimately                     at
                                                     displayed theCenten-
nial,aswellasat theChicago  World's  Columbian               in
                                                Exposition 1893. 1886,In
Martha           her
        published detailed                 aptly
                            autobiography entitled        Signal Success,where
she          her
    chronicled wartime   business         and
                                  ventures impressive     inventive  putsuits.
       Martha Coston eventually retiredfromactive                 of
                                                    management thecom-
pany hersonWilliam,                    a
                          who•eceived formal    business  education,  acquired
the familyenterprise.UnderWilliam's             the
                                       direction, company        designed  and
marketedpopular                 gun              the       to
                  line-throwing thatallowed fm'n flourish the          into
twentieth        The
         century. Coston     Signal, however,            the
                                              remained company's         claim
to fame.                       year
         During1902,thesame thatMartha          died,thesignals    saved some
210 vessels werein immediate               The
                                   danger. devices                  a
                                                        remained standard
      of           in
piece equipment Coast       Guardhfesaving   equipment              the
                                                          through 1930s,
butslowly wayto electric     lanterns          by
                                      powered newandmoredependable
          As          as             the
batteries. recenfiy the 1970s, original           Coston    Supply   Company,
          in New        still         and       a
headquartered YorkCity, manufactured marketedvariety  of
hfesaving     ["The
                       Light,"    pp.  Stanley, p. 121].
                              1978, 1-2;     1987,
World War I

      Unlike the Civil War, World War I did not fuel a substantial       in
the number patents          to
                   granted female           It
                                    inventors. did,however,provide
some womeninventors                     to
                      with an opportunity market              and
       aid                                             a
thereby the largerwar effort.HarrietStrong(1844-1926), flamboyant
                    was a masterat building
inventorand feminist,                      commercial networksand
                                       "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 149

orchestrating        relations
                public              She        a
                             campaigns. launchedhorticultural
business her Southern            farmin 1883,and received patents
                        California                      five
between 1884and 1894.Her inventions grewmoretechnologicallyadvanced
overtime,          with
         beginning threesimple            tools              in
                                   domestic andculminating two
sophisticated                  Harrietspent years
                     structures.          the      between 1884and
1917 establishingbusiness            and
                         relationships, usedthe war to develop  her
national         plansandbolster             for
                                 publicsupport her pioneering water
inventions. 7
                    Russell bornin Buffalo,
      HarrietWilliams       was            New York andspenther
youthtraveling West with her parents.               Mary Atkin's
YoungLadies  Seminary              in      and married banker,
                      0MillsCollege Benida),          the
publisher, miningtycoon,          Lynman
                            Charles                      in
                                        Strong(1826-1883) 1863.
Charlesand Harriet moved to Oakland,Californiain 1864 when Charleshad
                      breakdowns forced
the firstof manynervous        that                   his
                                          him to resign lucrative
         as              of
position the superintendentNevada'sGould& CurryMiningCompany.
In 1867,the Strongs Harriet's brotherWilliamHenry Russell bought
220 acres of the land tract known as the "Ranchito" on the San Gabriel River
in Whittier from Don Pio Pico, the last Mexicangovernorof California?
Charles William                a
                     launched farming            until        left
                                         business Strong to workin
the Sumner                         in
             Mine, Kern County, January      1873.Charles   wrote that "The
farming  business        to                    to
                  proved beveryunprofitable thefixan               [sic]
                                                           owning mosfiy
to droughts loss cropsof       andseveral unsuccessful          to
                                                       attempts supply    the
Ranch   with waterfor irrigating purposes,          of
                                          consisting making    ditches, dams,
 ...artesian         "9                          in
            wells,etc. Harrietdid not participate these   irrigationactivities,
but she learned   invaluable lessons                 her
                                      from observing husband's       financial
losses agricultural    failures.
        Harrietspent mostof hermartied       raising daughters
                                         years       four           whileher
husband    immersed          in                     •0
                     himself his miningbusiness.Duringmost of their
"absentee   marriage,"                       and         to
                      Harrietgrewdepressed began sufferfrom back
painandchronic            n
                   fatigue. Her physical  condition         so
                                                   became unmanageable

     7 For the most comprehensive           of
                                  collection primarysource          see
                                                           materials, Harriet
Williams Russell StrongManuscript           The Henry E. Huntington
                                  Collection,                      Library,San
Marino,California,        citedas HS. For biographical
                  hereafter                                   on
                                                    information HarrietStrong,
seeBusiness 1 (Boston:   January      HS
                                1895), Box 18,Dictionary         Biograph2y,
                                                        ofAmerica#       vol.9
[1964],Jensen [1987],Lothtop[19781,NationalCydopedia
                                                   ofAme•ra#       , Vo/#rae
                                                             Biograph2y     17
[1927],Paul [1971],Smith[1911],"The Work of One Woman"[1926],IVho's  IVhoin the
Padfir         [1913], Vare andPtacek
      So#th•vest     and                [1988]among  manyotherscatteredaccounts
andnewspaper  articles.
    8Whilesome       accounts thattheland
              secondary     claim                was
                                          purchased 320or 325acres,
          and     Strong
bothCharles Harriet     wrote           was       See
                             thattheranch 220acres. CharlesLynman
Strong,         citedas C.S.,"Business
        hereafter                                            I
                                      Affairsof C.L. Strong." June1876,Whittier,
California, Box 7, Folder723;andLetter,HarrietStrong,  hereaftercitedasH.S.,to S.S.
Gage, November         Los
                  1887, Angeles,            HS
                                  California, Box11,Folder   767.
     9"BusinessAffairsof C.L.Strong."
     •0See"Grade  Books fromYoung  LadiesSeminary,"November    1859and13 February
1860,        HS
      Benida, Box1, Folder   852;andMacdonald,       p.
                                               [1992, 164].
     n Letter,                      Nebraska              HS
                                             City,Nevada, Box4, Folder378.

               1882,shetraveled Philadelphia seekhelp from the
that in November              to          to
famous Doctor Silas Weir Mitchell. •2 Harriet's convalescence allowed her to
escape fromdomestic          into           of          and
                      chores theworld reading intellectual            exdte-
ment.        was
      Charles equally              by             role
                          burdened hisfamilial asfinancial                In
1867,he accidentally andkilledhisstage                but
                                              driver, the finalblowcame
from a "salted"  California                    u
                            mininginvestment. In February       1883, Charles
committed          Still
           suicide. in Philadelphia,   Harriet         of
                                               learned herhusband's    death
butherillness heraway                           until
                            fromherdaughters June         1883.•4
       Harriet's                     the            of
                             marked beginning her "separate"          market
activities[Scadron, 1988,pp. 241-270].   With the help of her brother,she
        a       of
planted vahety crops     includingwalnuts, oranges, citrus      pomegranates,
andpampas           to         a
            plumes provide steady       income   fromherranch?Discussing
the relationship          her
                between physical                  and
                                      limitations her inventive     activities,
Harriet          that
        explained "... for a long6meI wasaninvalid        fromspinal trouble,
andI believe scientific          which tookup thento pass timehave
                           studies       I                      the
        me         m6
helped greafiy. Thesestudies,          along with her earlyobservations   of
Charles'            failures,
         agricultural                    to                   of
                             contributed thedevelopment herelaborate
       In 1887, Harriet patented   the dam and reservoir     construction,an
invention          for
          designed irrigation,  impounding           and
                                             debris, saving     waterin steep
       Livingin a desert
valleys.               where waterwasscarce,              to
                                             Harrietsought store water
on the slopes the Puente                   the             of
                           Hills to increase productivity her farm.
       of      one
Instead using dam,she               a     of
                          designedseries ascending          The
                                                      dams. highest
damin the series, example,                 the        area
                              wouldirrigate highest of land.The
          of            was
advantage this system that a dam asserted     backward          on
                                                        pressure the
damabove thereby            the       of              17
                    avoiding danger a totalcollapse.In 1894,Harriet
        her          for          of        for
received finalpatent themethod andmeans impounding         debris
andstoring     Thisinvention
          water.                     an
                           provided effective       of
                                             means impounding
debrisfrom hydraulic                the                 and other
                         and storing water for irrigation
                           Exposition 1893,Harrietdisplayed
     At the World'sColumbian        in                    her
          She         at       on
inventions. alsospoke a congress business       for
                                         training women,  and
       that               of
claimed 'q•hen the majority women           the
                                  understand business methods

    •2 SeeLetter, Mary Lynman    StrongMason,10 November1882,HS Box 10,
Folder326; Letter,C.S. to Harriet[Russell]       HS
                                          Strong, Box 11, Folder338; Letter,John
Taintor                azi
        Coeto [Bishop] William              9
                                  Whitaker, February                  HS
                                                      1883,SanFrancisco, Box 11,
Folder Letter, C.S.,21 December  1882,            HS
                                               Philadelphia, Box10,Folder 844;and [Eben
Letter,             Erskine]alcott, 20September 1883,        HS
                                                     Oakland, Box11,Folder  786.
    •3Letter, H.S.,4 May1867,            Arizona, Box5, Folder
                                     Hardyville,       HS            404.
    •4 Letter,H.S. to [EbenErskine]  alcott, 20 September             HS
                                                         1883,Oakland, Box 11,
Folder 786.
     IsSee                Republican
          Flierof "National                for
                                   Emblem" 1888,1892,1896,HS Box13,Folder
58; Letter,Georgina PierrepontStrongHicksto HarrietRussell        22
                                                           Strong, July 1893,
        HS               90,        [191
Chicago, Box13,Folder andSmith l],pasdm.
     •6Quoted "She's      of
                      Boss theRanch,"newspaper        26
                                               article, October    HS
                                                               1896, Box18.
     •?U.S.Patent         and
                  #374,378 untitlednewspaperarticle, December, early
                                                    4          c.         HS
Box 18.
                                        "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 151

                             to     in          of           "aS
of theworld,theywill be asked assist the affairs government. For
Harriet,         of
        knowledge business  matters      as             for
                                   served a springboard women    to
        a                  and
achieve rolein government politics.         gathered
                                      Harriet                women
at theFairandorganized Business          of
                                  League America?    Thisclubwasnot
limitedto female            and
                membership, men frequently               to
                                              contributed the group.
The Business  League          a
                    published modest   journal        The
                                              entitled Business Folio
[1895], whichprovided business       for
                               advice womenand offereda strategic
justification theLeague'sexistence.
       Thisis not a league business        for
                                    women mutual          and
                           in      the          was
       profit,but theobject starting movement to encourage
                  of          to
       the ladies America study     business        in
                                            methods orderto
       preserve                         in
                their homesand fortunes the caseof deathof
               or       or                         and
       husband father, to meetwithhim,intelligently helpfully
       anyreverses  which          might
                         misfortunes   bring.2ø
           of                      of
Regardless theirblatantdenial "mutual         benefit,"Business Leaguers  were
                 profit         They          that
business-minded seekers. realized women to be educated      had
in business          to
           methods advance                and               the
                                  socially to guarantee survival the   of
familyin the absence a maleprovider.        Harrietfrequently argued that "As
womanhasalways     beenaccorded                 and
                                     spirituality heart,let her havebrains
too. Manymenwerewilling supportto                        in
                                          improvementswomen's      educafon
for suchemergency                but                    for
                     situations, a blatantmission women's            financial
success wouldhavelabeled     theirgroupas a social    threatto the tradifonal
nineteenth-century          of
                  divisions labor.
      After the Fair, Harrietincorporated Business          League'sprinciples
into her own enterprises. 1897, she drilledseveral       artesianwellson the
Ranchito purchased                   of             as
                        1,000acres landknown theLaguna           Ranch  some
fivemiles away.                      a
                Theresheinstalled pumping                             the
                                               plantandincorporated new
propex•y underthe nameof the Pasode Bartolo                          in
                                                    WaterCompany 1900.
Harrietserved the corporafloWs                and
                                     president her four daughters     acted as
corporate           To       the         to          the
          directors. raise capital support new business,               Harriet
issued$110,000                    to
                worthof bonds womenonly.Since           mostbusinessmen    did
not welcome   women   into the business                          only
                                         world,Harrietsolicited women
stockholders. later        the
                       sold Laguna               to      a
                                        propex•y make handsome      profitfor
herself and her investors."
      Harriet'swater technologies         in
                                 culminated an ambitiousattemptto
achieve nationalirrigation     during
                          system                       she
                                     WorldWarI. In 1917, appealed
            government damtheColorado
to thefederal           to                   at
                                         River thelower     of
                                                       portal the

     •s HarrietWilliamsRussell Strong,"SpeechDelivered             of
                                                      BeforeCongress Represen-
tativeWomen,  World's              in      Fo•o,
                      Fair,"printed Budnest 3.
     •9 See,for example,                       &              to
                        Letter,PeterHenderson Co., Seedsmen H.S., 6 February
1890, New York, HS Box 12, Folder 79.
    2o        Fo•o,
      Busiuess [1895]2.
    2•Quotedin "TheHousehold    Realm," newspaper       September
                                                 article,       1896,HS Box18.
    22National          ofAmedcau
               Cyclopaedia         Biography p. 34], IVho's inthe
                                          [1927,           IVho         Southwest
[1913,p. 358],andStateof California

GrandCanyon.                           the
                  Harrietwasamong firstcitizens advocate  to           harnessing  the
river to controlfloods,    conserve  water,andgenerate                 23
                                                            electricity. Linkingher
              with                      to
experiences watertechnologiestheinternational                problems          by
                                                                         posed the
war, sheargued     thatAmerica    couldnot sendtroopsto Europewithoutsup-
plying                        food                       24
        themwithadequate andwatersupplies.Harrietargued since               that
thelower            of
            portion theGrand                was         of
                                   Canyon made 1000to 1500feetof solid
         that       be          with
granite could blasted dynamite, physical        the                     of
                                                              structure the"tank"
easily lent itselfto damconstruction. dams The          wereto be built across     the
Colorado    River,         in
                   ranging height    from150to 250feet.      These   restrainingstruc-
tures wouldformstorage                 and
                            reservoirs harness       electrical                in
                                                                powerfor use sur-
rounding          This
            areas. method                               at
                                 wouldfill thecanyon a relatively cost low       while
a system dams              and
                    stored clarified     reservoir          As
                                                   waters. partof thedamcam-
paign,  Harriet        for                   of
                called theconstruction a $6,000,000             American   Canal built
onthePanama      Canal         to
                        model ensure safety theentire
                                         the       of             irrigationsystem. 25
        Harrietdescribed irrigation               in
                                           project a manner                     to
                                                                 thatappealed the
common      person  and the elected            in
                                      official a war environment. project Her
                              of              and
wouldallowthe building newhomes the employment millions                of            of
         26            tried
people. Politicians to convince American  the                      that
                                                           people cropmanage-
mentandfoodrationing         werethe domestic     weapons             to
                                                             needed win the war.
Adopting     this same  rationale,                  to
                                   Harrietsought aid the war by building             an
infrastructure would         ensure stable           of
                                            supplies foodandwater.        Anyexcess
revenue    raised                                          war
                 fromtheplanwouldpaythenational debt.On the surface,
Harriet'sprogressive     argument           on
                                    rested social      issues,  politicalpolicies, and
national   security            She                   litfie
                    concerns. hadseemingly to gainfrom the project
           the         on
because patents her irrigation            systems           by            of
                                                   lapsed the onset the war.
However,the adoption Harriet's            war measures     wouldhaveboosted        her
agricultural           by
              business providing     cheaper         at
                                              water a timewhen demand the           for
foodwasgreat?Moreover, plans    her       wouldhave    wonhernational     recognition
asa gifted   inventor,           and
                      engineer, civic-minded        citizen.
         Harrietwrote numerous               and
                                     essays delivered         manyspeeches      urging
          to         a                bill
women support flood-control in Congress Strong,          [e.g.,               She
                                                                       1914]. also
used familial                     to
                    connections gainpolitical      attention.   With the helpof her
son-in New York Congressman                        C.
                                        Frederick Hicks,                     the
                                                              whopressed water
conservation            as            war
                project a federal measure,                              as
                                                     Harriettestified an "expert
witness"          her
            about irrigation     plans        the
                                      before House         Congressional   Committee

    2aAt the turn of the twentiethcentury,Arthur PowellDavis of the U.S. Geological
Survey,later of the U.S. Reclamation       argued
                                    Sentice,      that the Colorado  River shouldbe
harnessed supply    waterto seven  American  and two Mexican  states [Hundley,1992,
    24H.W.R. Strong,   "Should                Be
                               GrandCanyon Dammed,"Times                    Magazine
(1July1917), Box12,Folder850.
     2sIbid., 3-4.
    2• Quotedin "Use GrandCanyon MammothIrrigation    Tank, UrgesWoman,"
       of        in
reprint thearticle theLos     Tribune July1917), Box12,Folder
                         Angeles    (1         HS             850.
    2, HarderW.S.Strong,                  FeedtheWorld?"           IVoman
(December      3-4,HS Box14,Folder
          1917),                 854.
                                      "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 153

onWater           In               she       her
          Power. Mayof 1918, began testimony: come          "I     before you
unheralded, except         my
                    where voice beenhas            for             good
                                              heard the'greatest to the
greatestnumber"'    [Water Power   Hearings, 1918,p. 787].Shethenproceeded
to detail planfor theColorado            2•
      Congress  rejected           plan            of
                          Harriet's in thewake the1918         armistice,when
they            that
    determined it was        unnecessary         so
                                        to spend much             on
                                                           money a massive
war measure  [Jensen,                                may
                       1987,p. 50].The government havebeenespecially
cost-conscious          the                              the
               during war, but Harrietattributed project's           failureto
male           to
     resistance a woman's               ideas              1992,
                              ingenious [Macdonald, p. 281].It was
onlyafterHarriet's        in
                    death 1926thather"mammoth                  tank"became
                                                      irrigation             a
national        Congress
         reality.                  a
                            passed Boulder     Canyon  Act in December   1928,
                   the           f•rst
whichauthorized countty's multipuxpose project    water          knownasthe
HooverDam. The massive                 was              in
                              structure completed 1935,and started          to
supply               power                  areas
      hydroelectric to surrounding in 1936. actalso       The        calledfor
an All-American                                      in
                   Canal,whichbeganconstruction 1942 [Hundley,           1992,
pp. 201-222].
       This course events       wouldhavepleased      HarrietStrong.    Congress
finallyimplemented technological                     of
                                        descendants her waterdesigns,         and
        the          dam
created massive andcanal                  that once
                                    system she                      It
                                                        proposed. isdifficult
to exaggerate historical                 of
                             significance HarrietStrong's   irrigation    systems.
Her inventions not makeherrich,nor did sheearnthepublic              recognition
or historical           that              One
              attention shedeserved. mightevenargue                thather case
represents "technological                             her
                              failurestudy"because inventions           were not
diffusedthroughout     society. The historical  literaturestill ignores    Harriet
Strong's irrigation          She                     in
                   crusade. is nevermentioned the histories western    of
            or                      nor
agriculture waterdevelopment, is sheevercitedasa keyfigure the              in
domesfcwar effort or the BoulderCanyonProject.Harriet'sinventive
activities             that           and
          demonstrate invention innovation gradual    are         processes,   not
necessarily          by            set
            dictated a coherent of choices.       Rather,        such
                                                         factors astiming,
access capital,    social connections,         maneuvering, technological
                                       political             and
             shape              of
preferences thebusiness invention            during wartime.
World War II

       World War II alsoofferednew business                 for
                                                opportunities those
inventors               to
           who adapted the dramatic     changes  broughtaboutby the
command             In
           economy. October1942,Carl Dreherof Popular         Monthly
offered                               inventor wartime." explained
        "...somehintsfor the free-lance       in         He
that inventors who wantedto makemoneyduringthe war should       avoid
"superman    ideas,"and other high-technology inventionssuch as anti-
            nets           air
submarine and floating mines,         that wouldlikelybe developedby
militaryexperts.Rather,Dreher arguedthat wartimeinventorsshould

    2sSeealso,            "Should
              H.W.R.Strong,                     Be
                                   GrandCanyon Dammed,"            of
                                                           "Problem Con-
serving ControllingWater,"lVhi#ier       (c.     and"WaterSources Supply,
                                   Register 1905),              and
Conservation StormWater,"        Register March1905), Box12,Folder
                         lVhittitr     (10           HS           850.

          theix      efforts less
concentrate mechanical       on              inventions,
                                  sophisticated        including
         equipment the baffle andillumination
protective       for        field                    for
                                              devices airplane
      Drehercould                             to
                    havecitedHedyLainart argue women    that         inventors
should havealso avoided"superwoman   ideas"          the
                                             during war.Lamarr        (Hedwig
                  was               in
EvaMariaKieffer) bornin Austria 1915astheonlychildof a prominent
Viennesebanker,Emil Kieffer and an aspiring         concertpianist,Gertrud
           She        Max
Lichtwitz. attended Reinhardt's        renowned    acting         in
                                                          school Berlinand
married wealthy             magnet,
                   industrial       Friedrich                  at
                                                (Fritz)Mandl, ageeighteen.
Lamarr's husband,            as
                      known a rather     shady  character throughout   Europe,
       one            "big
owned of Austria's four"munitions                          called
                                            manufacturers Hirtenberger
Patronen-Fabrik           -
                Industries thesame               that
                                     company supplied          "pompous   little
           with         to
Mussolini" weapons invade                  in
                                Ethiopia 1935[Lainart,              p. 29
                                                             1966, 21].
      During theixbrief but tumultuous     marriage,  Lamarrentertained     the
great       and
     social political            of           and
                       dignitaries theday, nurtured genuine a          fascina-
tionwithmilitary            The
                 technology. young      actress                 her
                                                grewto resent entrepren-
     husband, oftenleftherunder watchful of hisservants
eurial         who                    the            eyes                while
he embarked commercial                 all
                             ventures over the world. He was jealous
         she       in
because starred the erotic1933CzechmovieEcstasjy,             whichhad been
            by                        in
denounced Pope PiusX_I,banned Germany Hitler'sregime, by                   and
protested theUnited   States[Young,        p.
                                    1978, 17].Afternumerous         attempts at
leaving            and
       bothMandl a politically    turbulent  Vienna,          fled
                                                      Lamarr to Paris      and
thento London                    was                 trip
                whileherhusband on a hunting in Hungary. 1937,        In
sheobtained divorce    and finally         in              to
                                  setfled Hollywood pursue film       her
career with MGM.
       The   Nazi   invasion of her Austrian    homeland    in 1938 channeled
Lamarr's military         and
                  interests prewarbusiness              into
                                            experiences the world of
invention technological           At
                            change. a 1940Hollywood   dinner partyhosted
by thesinger-actress Gaynor,           mettheauthor American
                                 Lainart              and          film-
scorecomposer,    GeorgeAntheil.The two inquisitive  mindsenjoyed  each
other's           and       the
        company spent evening                 in              The
                                      engaged conversation. multi-
talented                                            in
         Antheilhad writtena book on endocrinology 1937, and Lamarr
solicited "expert"          to       her       size
                      advice augment breast andenhance prom-   her
ising career             1937].
                 [Antheil,                left
                               WhenLainart thepattylatethatnight,    she
               to          her
usedlipstick scribble telephone                        the
                                       numberacross windshield        of
          car.               the
AntheWs Antheilcalled intriguing               the
                                        actress nextmorning, she and

     29In her autobiography,         and                              her
                              Ecsta(y Me [1966],Lamarremphasized Hollywood
experiences nevermenfoned                             acfvifes,or the communicafon
                                 Antheil,her invertfive
device(discussed                 the
                 bdow). Instead, actress    wrotea remarkably                of
                                                               candidaccount her
           fdm      her           love                      real
impressive career, turbulent life,andherchallenging life roleasthemother
of threechildren.Therewasa heated         surrounding validity theautobiography.
                                    lawsuit           the        of
In September 1966,Lamarr                      $9.6      suit        her
                          filedanunsuccessful million against publisher an    in
        to                of
attempt stoppublicafon thebook.She                that
                                          asserted it contained           of
                                                                 accounts adultery,
           and           that
lesbianism, perversion were"false,               and
                                         obscene libelous"    ["Lamarr Autobiography
Prompts           Suit,"1967, 18].
         Plagiarism           p.
                                        "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 155

invitedhimto dineat herBenedict Canyon       [Antheil,
                                       retreat             pp.
                                                     1981, 327-332;
       Thecouple      the
                  spent evening            the               of
                                 discussing Nazi occupation Austria
andthemunitions           that
                  expertise Lamarr             at
                                      developed business  dinnerswhile
Mandl"didn'tthink sheknewA from Z" [Antheil,      1981,p. 330]. Lamarr
confessed shefeltguilty           so
                           making much          in
                                          money Hollywood    whilethe
restof theworldsuffered such great turmoil.          explained she
                                           The actress         that
                the      of
wasentertaining notion quitting                    to
                                    MGM to relocate Washington,   D.C.
                       services theNational
to offerher technological      to            Inventors'Council (NIC), a
celebrated branch of the commerce established in 1940 to facilitate wartime
invention innovation                  the
                             among American          public. "Theycouldjusthave
me aroundand ask me questions," announced.  she                Antheil discouraged
Lamarr's  overconfident   though            gesture, argued thestar
                                    patriotic        and          that          would
do moregoodin Hollywood making       by                                 and
                                                 publicappearances boosting
        than             as
morale, byserving anadhocadvisor theNIC [Antheil,to                            p.
                                                                        1981, 330].
       Lamarr                to            her
                 proceeded articulate inventive                 for
                                                          plans an anti-jamming
device radio-controlled                   that believed
                               torpedoes she                could   helpwin thewar.
Ships                        she
      undernavalattack, explained,            typically wasted  several torpedoes    to
successfully a single    target.   Thishckof precision           to
                                                          proved beprofitable       for
munitions                    like                    but
            manufacturers her ex-husband, disastrous financially-     for
strapped   nations               in
                   embroiled totalwar. Lamarr's          solution  reliedon a radio-
controlled           that
            torpedo responded shifting to          targets,rising        and
                                                                  tides, unstable
weather                Her
         conditions. ideasounded                         but
                                            promising, alsoposedformidable
technological   challenges  because                                     of
                                       even the bestradiosignals the 1940s
 frequently jammed.  Antheil    listened          as
                                        carefully he saton Lamarr's       living room
floor,tookcopious             and
                      notes, sketched                  of
                                             diagrams thedeveloping         communi-
cationsystem. invention                  a
                                   struck patriotic  chordwith the composer,       and
               that patent device give to Uncle
he suggested she                  the       and       it                in
                                                                   Sam support       of
thewareffort [Antheft,   1981,pp.327-332;      Meeks,   1990].
       The innovative     pair spentseveral     weeksrefiningthe inventionand
discussing utilityuntiltheywere"...both bluein the face"[Antheil,                 1981,
p. 331]. In his 1945 autobiography,                         the
                                          Antheilcredited entireinvention            to
Lamarr, hewasprobably                   too
                                   being modest.     Antheil           to
                                                              proved be theideal
              to           the
co-inventor develop radiodevice                         he
                                              because hadengineered          elaborate
European             with                  phyer
            musicals synchronized pianos operated thesame that            on
technical              that
           principles Lamarr                      The
                                      described. finalLamarr-Antheil            system
detailed  the use of a communication         process   that cameto be known as
"frequency   hopping"            88
                        across radio      frequencies, same
                                                        the                 of
                                                                  number keys       on
a synchronized piano[Meeks,                      In                 and
                                          1990]. 1940,Lamarr Antheilsent
 theirplans the NIC, whichimmediately                          the
                                                  encouraged two inventors           to
patent                The
       theirdevice. Patent                         the
                                    Officeissued resulting               for
                                                                 patent a "Secret
 Communication                to
                   System" Hedy KieslerMarkey(the actress maxtied        had
 GeneMarkey 1939) George and                    in
                                        Anthell 1942[Meeks,       1990;  Braun,   1997;
Antheil,1981,p. 331].

                   biography, Whitesitt
       For Antheil's       see        [1983].

      The co-patentees                to
                        were shocked learn that the War Department
declinedthegrpatriotic          to                   the
                      invitation useand develop invention        free of
charge.                      for
       Anthelltookhisquest technological                a
                                              diffusion stepfurther and
lobbied moreresearch     support             C.
                                fromWilliam Bullitt,         Assistant
                                                       Special        of
theNavy.Anthellargued theGermans                          to
                                         werefar superior Americans   in
naval          and
     technology thatthesecret                   device
                                  communication would        helpnarrow
the gap.His effortsfell on deafearslargely         the         was
                                           because invention well
beyondthe technological              of
                          capabilities the time. The navy rejectedthe
         and         that
invention clairned themechanism         wouldbe far too bulkyto fit into
anytorpedo. Anthell          insisting the system
                    disagreed,        that                 be
                                                      could madesmall
       to                              he           the
enough fit intoa watch.In retrospect, pondered invention's       cultural
      In our patentHedy and I attempted better elucidate    our
                 by         that
      mechanism explaining certain                     like
                                      partsof it worked the
      fundamental           of
                  mechanism a player  piano.Here, undoubtedly,
               our        The        and
      we made mistake. reverend brass-headed         gentlemen
      in Washington             our
                    who examined invention  readno furtherthan
      thewords        piano."
                "player      "My god,"I canseethemsaying,  'We
      shallput a phyerpianoin a torpedo"         in
                                        [Quoted Braun,1997,
      p. 14].
Anthellimplied              for
              thatthereason technological          rested an inherent
                                           rejection      in
cultural    between creative
        clash       two                   and
                                entertainers a traditional militaryelite,
                   of                the
who were incapable comprehending potential                   of
                                                  adaptation musical
technologies the art of warfare.           the
                                 Moreover, innovative     couple lacked
applicable          of
          knowledge the electronics business.Antheft himself attested to
this fact when he rifled a chapterin his autobiography Am Not a
       Rather                and
             thanjoinAntheil pursue                  diffusion another
                                         technological        via
business                           her
         route, Lainart abandoned role as a frustrated       patentee and
         her           She      the
resumed film career. spent restof thewar era justasAnthelland
her otherfamous  peersoncesuggested,   entertaining                at
                                                   militaryofficers the
Hollywood           and
           Canteen thereby     giving "...a big boostto the boys'morale"
[Bette             in
      Davisquoted Lainart,         p.
                             1966, 113].Anthell   remained       to
                                                            quick admit
that the Hollywood  establishmentintentionally          his
                                              marketed colleague a   as
culturalicon andworld-class beauty, ratherthanan intelligent woman  who
could onlylightupthesilver           but
                              screen, thePatent    Office.
                       we       is
      TheHedywhom know nottheHedyyouknow.               Youknow
      something whichtheM.G.M. publicity              has,
                                            department in all its
      cunning,           up.
               dreamed Thereis no suchHedy.They havelong
      agodecided                                    sex     they
                   that,in orderto giveher sufficient appeal,
      will make justfainfly           But
                               stupid. Hedyis very,verybright.
      Compared mostHollywood                  we
                                     actresses know,Hedy is an
      intellectual                            the
                  giant.I know I'm crabbing M.G.M. publicity
      department's butit'strue[Antheil,         p.
                                           1981, 332].
                                      "LET HER HAVE BRAINS TOO" / 157

The federal              was
             govemment equally                     to
                                      predisposed manipulate       Lamarr's  glam-
oœous         as                      than
      image a moviestarœather a patriotic                         Just
                                                       inventor. onemonth
afterthepatent issued, sold she       over$7million   worthof United    Stateswar
       in         day
bonds a single [Lamarr,               p.                      a
                                1966, 115;"HedyLainart Hit," 1942;          "Food
Stamps,"  1942; "Foreign  Groups,"   1942; "Heady  Date,"1942].
                    and           the
       For Lamarr Antheft, prevailing           cultuxalbiases  about who should
invent coupled    with the technical              of
                                      limitations contemporary      military tech-
nology- delayed                                of
                     the commercialization their communication             system.
           the                                 the
Ironically, endof WorldWar II marked rnihkary-industrial              diffusion of
thek pioneering               Two
                 technology. engineers                  in
                                               working the Electronic      System
          at          a
Division Sylvania,New York corporation                    in
                                                centered Buffalo,     adapted  and
commerciali•.ed            of
                 a version theoriginal            in
                                           system 1957.     The War Department
alsoimplemented     frequency            in
                               hopping 1962,thxee        years  afterthe Lamarr-
Antheftpatentexpired,    whenit contracted              to         the
                                               Sylvania install system          on
ships to safeguaxd Cubanthe         blockade         the
                                              during missle           By
                                                                crisis. themid-
1980s, rnilkary      &classified   spread-spectrum  ("frequency   hopping")  tech-
nologies, thecommercial        sector        to
                                      began develop     related          for
                                                                 devices usein
the electronics industry. Today,spread-spectrum                     axe
                                                      technologies usedin a
myriadof consumer       devices  ranging  from cellular  phonesto radio wans-
missions   [Couey,  1997].Competing                     still
                                         corpoeations use a technological
descendant the 1942 patentto speed          satellite communications    across the
globe,  andthe federal                 also       on
                         government relies the principle frequency   of
          as                  of
hopping the foundation its $25 billionMilstar            defense   communication
satellitesystem [Meeks,  1990].3•

       Between CivilWareraandWorldWar II, popular               and
                                                        writers social
critics                 with
             empathized the plightof individual     inventorswho triedto
commercialize patents             the        of          was
                          because business invention fiddled         with
financial                         risks.
         pitfallsand psychological The difficultprocess      often reaped
emotional          and                          in
          distress, putmorethatoneinventor the poorhouse. the       At
turnof the twentieth        a        of
                     century, group socially  conscious citizensattempted
to build"a homefor indigent             who       at            of
                             inventors" failed the business inven-
tion.The homewasto be constructed New York City,but onecolumnist
argued itsproper          was               D.C.,
                     place in Washington, "near Patent the       Office-
the graveyard manyan inventor's           and            The
                                    hopes air castles." poorhouse
             to         like
wasdesigned function anyothercharitable                   except would
                                               institution,      it
provide           with
        inventors freelegal            in                of
                                advice the "atmosphere a clubhouse."

    • On 15January                 the       Invesfgator several
                     DavidR. Hughes, Principal         for    Nafonal
Science        (NSF)Projects
                                         forms wireless
                                             of                   for
                                            nominatedLainart and Anthell for the
educationand Third World data communications,
1997EFF Pioneer      for           of
               Award theirinvention frequencyhopping.      nomina6on
     is        on            website. Phillip
letter reproduced a HedyLamarr      See           "Welcome theHedy
                                             Pessar,      to

          all      patrons
Apparently,destitute           a
                          sharedcommon          bond
                                       psychological because
                  as       of       economic
theyhit rock-bottom a result the same          ["A
                                           woes Homefor
IndigentInventors," 1906].
      Some             later, an article
             thirtyyears     in        entitled                       a
                                               "FirstAid to Inventors,"
Business writercarried samethe    depressing theme into theWorldWars,
           that           of
andargued "Ignorance patent                  has
                                  procedures robbed           an
                                                       many inventor
of profitjustly                       did                        to
               duehim."The columnist not limit thisdiscussion men.
Manywomen           stumbled "golden
            inventors      onto                 that   from
                                      discoveries" arose
using        devices household
     practical     and                   By
                                equipment. the 1930s,however,
female inventors in need of inventive assistance could enroll in free classes
sponsored the Inventors                 Inc.,
                            Foundations, whichwas funded the  by
GilletteSafety                The         of          was
              RazorCompany. objective the course to "remove
            and            from          to      it
theromance carelessness inventing, reduce to sound         business."
         was           to            with           for
Training notconfined adolescents a propensity themechanical
                    executives understood importance safe-
arts,but alsoincluded           who           the            of
guarding          and           to
         machinery products avoidpossible      infringement.Students,
including sizable       of
                 number women,            how
                                   learned to filepatent applications,
andhowto retain patent        who        not
                      lawyers would extract                  fees
                                                  astronomical for
         ["FirstAid to Inventors,"
themselves                        1934].
      In the midstof such               and
                           philanthropy free-flowing    inventive advice,
access reliableinformation about          and
                                patentrag marketing    inventions proved
                challenge women
to bea persistent        for        inventors        the
                                             through postwar For era.
women             to
       who sought market                    commercial
                             theirinventions,           advicefromtheir
female peers           a        to
            representedmeans gainreliable      information aboutgender-
specific         and                to         with
        problems, an opportunity associate a network women    of
whoshared same     personal         and
                            anxieties financial           associated
                                                 challenges         with
the business invention. Business sense          the             of
                                       involved manipulation social
andfamilial            as      to
            relationships means serve  theireconomic          and
                                                      interests com-
mercialneeds.               factors,
               Otherimportant                the        of
                                   including quality theinvention,
         of           the
thecosts developing patent,           and
                               timing, even                to
                                                luck,helped determine
the relative                 success each
            levelof commercial      that      individualwoman  enjoyed.
After analyzing inventive           and      frustrations three
                            histories business           of
notablefemale         it                commercialization asan
             inventors, is dearthatpatent              stood
overwhelming         for       who      the
            challenge women lacked versatile    socialconnections
andpublic        that      the       of
         relations fueled business invention.

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