5 women who changed the automotive industry


Bertha Benz – Brake pads, 1888

Bertha Benz’s first long-distance drive ever lead to the creation of brake pads and the first gear system, when the wooden brakes wore-out and the car had to be pushed when going uphill.



Margaret Wilcox – Car heater, 1893

One of the few female mechanical engineers of her time, Margaret Wilcox devised a way to heat a car without electricity, channeling hot air from the car engine into the cabin.



Mary Anderson – Windshield wipers, 1903

While riding a streetcar during a storm, Mary Anderson got the idea for a hand-operated lever inside a vehicle designed to clear snow, rain, or sleet off of a windshield for better visibility.



Florence Lawrence – Turn and brake signals, 1914

Better known for her acting career, Florence Lawrence invented the turn and brake stop signals. Unfortunately, she failed to patent them and, as a result, she received no credit or profit from them.



Hedy Lamarr – GPS, 1942

Famous Hollywood’s Golden Age actress Hedy Lamarr was also a self-taught inventor who created a frequency-hopping technology that is regarded as a precursor to secure GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.