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Hannah Slater

We are highlighting the first female to receive a U.S. patent. Everytime you slip into a cotton outfit, you can thank Hannah Wilkinson Slater. This talented inventor and early women’s right’s activist is credited with turning cotton into sewing thread. a game changer for the sewing industry!

There is some confusion about her being the first female patent owner however, because originally, Hannah received her patent under the name Mrs. Samuel Slater. It wasn’t until the Patent Act of 1790  that women were finally able to apply for and receive patents. Before that, only men were given this right in the United States. Hannah didn’t let discrimination hold her back from living a life full of activism and community service that inspired her family for decades. She had 10 children, but died during childbirth at the young age of 37. 

You can actually visit the mill Hannah and her husband made famous in the 1700’s. Two centuries later, Slater Mill in Massachusetts is still standing, and educates visitors about the history of the industry. The mill was the first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill in the U.S., and the first property to be added to the national register of historic places. 

Watch the full episode on iWoman.TV

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