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Influential Women Innovators of the Automotive Industry

Influential Women Innovators of the Automotive Industry

Posted On 16 May, 2018

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The automotive industry has traditionally been considered a man’s world. All the aspects of the automotive industry, be it driving, designing, engineering, repairing, have always been dominated by men. Despite this domination, women have a rich history of pioneering innovation in the automotive industry which was crucial in the development of automobiles as we know them now. Let us look at the influential women innovators of the automotive industry:

1. Bertha Benz: Bertha Benz was the wife of motor engineer Karl Benz, the inventor of the first automobile, and the first female driver in the world. In 1888, she undertook the first long distance automobile trip (66 miles) with her two teenage sons. She refuelled and repaired mechanical problems during the journey and invented brake linings along the way. Her daring trip brought the automobile out in the public knowledge.

2.  Mary Anderson: Mary Anderson was the inventor of the manual windscreen wipers, an innovation which led to the indispensable wipers we use today. She got the patent for the windshield wiper in 1903. Very soon, other manufacturers adopted and worked on wipers which became the standard by 1916.

3. Florence Lawrence: Florence was an actor in the silent films, dubbed as “The First Movie Star”. Florence was also an auto-enthusiast. She invented two key safety components that have become integral to the automotive safety system ever since. She designed the “auto-signalling arms”, a prototype of the turn signal, and a “Stop” sign that flipped up in the back of the car as she was slowing down, an earlier form of brake lights. She never patented her designs and never received any profit, but her inventions profited the automobiles industry.

4. Helene Rother: Helene was the first female automotive designer and was hired by GM to design car interiors in 1943. In 1951, she became the first woman to address the Society of Automotive Engineers and was awarded the Jackson Medal for excellence of design.

5. Michelle Christensen: She was Acura’s first female exterior designer and became the first woman to lead the design team of a supercar, Honda NSX. In 2016, she received Marie Claire magazine’s Woman on Top Award.  

Take a look at the marvels of these innovators or start your used car search at Hertz Rent2Buy!

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