Celebrating Women’s History Month at the NIHF Museum
In partnership with the Society of Women Engineers™ (SWE), the National Inventors Hall of Fame® Museum has unveiled a brand-new exhibit at the start of Women’s History Month. Greeting visitors as they enter the headquarters of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, this exciting new display honors six innovative women who have made an extraordinary impact on the structures and systems of science and society.
Chemist and physicist E’lise Harmon held key roles at the Naval Research Laboratory and the Bureau of Standards before becoming the chief research printed circuit engineer at Aerovox Corp. in 1953. She developed and patented a process to produce printed circuitry and printed circuit components using a hot die stamp method to infuse silver conductors on polymerized thermoplastic and thermosetting base materials. Harmon received the SWE Achievement Award in 1956.
Laurence Pellier was a chemical engineer and metallurgist who developed techniques and applications in electron microscopy. She studied the strength of alloys for manufacturing applications at numerous companies beginning in 1940, and she held a U.S. patent for the gold plating of surgical needles. After retiring from the industry, she built a lab in her backyard and worked as a consultant until the age of 90. A charter member of SWE and the 1962 Achievement Award winner, Pellier supported SWE scholarships for future innovators.
In the 1940s, Josephine Webb worked on the electrical grids for the Coulee and Hoover Dams while serving as a design engineer at Westinghouse Electric Corp. A SWE member and a patent holder in oil circuit breaker contact design, Webb later became director of development for the Facsimile Development Laboratory at Alden Products Co., where she designed an 18-inch, full newspaper-size fax machine with excellent resolution.
In the late 1990s, National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Sumita Mitra, a chemist at 3M Oral Care, invented the first dental filling material to include nanoparticles. This composite filling material, Filtek™ Supreme Universal Restorative, is a versatile material that can be used for restoring teeth in any area of the mouth, replicating the beauty of natural teeth and offering greater polish retention and strength compared to existing dental composites. It has been used in more than 1 billion restorations worldwide since its initial launch. Mitra holds 100 U.S. patents.
National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee and industrial chemist Margaret Wu revolutionized the field of synthetic lubricants. She changed how automobile and industrial lubricants are designed and synthesized, contributing to products with better machine protection, improved energy efficiency and reduced waste oil. Wu, who holds more than 100 U.S. patents, retired from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. in 2009 as senior scientific adviser, the highest technical rank in the company, and was the first woman to fill that role.
Jayshree Seth is the first female engineer to attain the position of corporate scientist at 3M, the highest technical level within the company. In 2018, she also was named the company’s first chief science advocate. The recipient of numerous patents and the 2020 SWE Achievement Award winner, Seth leads the development of new technologies and sustainable products for 3M’s core platforms while promoting the importance of science in everyday life and generating wider interest in STEM careers.
Learn More About NIHF Inductees
To meet more of the patent-holding creators, innovators and entrepreneurs our Hall of Fame has inducted so far, we invite you to visit our website and plan your visit to the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum.