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NIHF Honors World-Changing Inventors During Women’s History Month
March 14, 2019

Since its founding in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, nearly 600 visionary men and women who conceived, patented and advanced the greatest technological achievements of our nation have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Historical innovators like Hedy Lamarr and Martha Coston paved the way beyond science and technology by becoming trailblazers for women. Today, pioneers like Frances Arnold continue to advance technologies and lead the way for the next generation of innovators.

Hedy Lamarr
Best known for her work in Hollywood during its Golden Age, starring in films such as “Ziegfeld Girl” and “Sampson and Delilah,” Lamarr’s influence goes far beyond the Hollywood Hills. During World War II, she and George Antheil invented a frequency-hopping technique that reduced the risk of detection or jamming of radio-controlled torpedoes. Today, it is regarded as an important development in wireless communication.

Martha Coston
Following sketches left by her late husband, Coston developed a system of pyrotechnic flares she sold to the U.S. Navy for use in the Civil War. Before patenting her invention in 1859, Coston spent 10 years testing and refining her flares. She formed the Coston Manufacturing Co. to produce and sell her flares to the U.S. Weather Service, private yacht clubs, merchant vessels and military institutions in England, France, Holland, Italy, Austria, Denmark and Brazil.

Frances Arnold
A pioneer of directed evolution, or the process for “breeding” scientifically interesting or technologically useful proteins, Arnold’s methods have accelerated the evolution of the proteins, especially enzyme catalysts, allowing for a wide range of applications. These include new biological routes to making pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, consumer chemicals and biofuels. Her methods are used in labs around the world.

Honor our world-changing inventors during Women’s History Month and celebrate the advancement of our nation through the process of invention. You can learn more about the NIHF Inductees at

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