Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 43: Who is Sarah Mathers?

After being rendered speechless to discover that only 5.5% of patents belong to female inventors,  I realized that we need to feature some of these women.  So I've added this tasks to my commitment to blog about gender and technology.  So for the next few weeks I pledge to learn more about some of of the patents that my sister geeks hold. 

While a few of the earliest patents held by women were for inventions related to the areas where women were experts in such as cooking or fabrication of clothes),  this early parent caught my attention. 

Sarah P. Mather’s Submarine Telescope, 07/05/1864
From the Patent and Trademark Office series: Utility Patent Drawings, 1837 - 1911
I was able to learn a little more about this telescope fromWikipedia
A more advanced version, an underwater telescope was patented by Sarah Mather in 1845 and permitted sea-going vessels to survey the depths of the ocean.[3][4][5] It used a camphine lamp in a glass globe that was sunk in the water. The device allowed to examine the hull and other details from a person on the deck of a boat.[6] In 1864 Sarah Mather added an improvement to her previous invention to detect Southern underwater warships.[7][8]
But I was not able to learn anything more from Sarah from that source since she does not have an entry on Wikipedia.  

But now I know why she doesn't have a Wikipedia account.. there is VERY Little information about Sarah anywhere online.   I spend hours looking and found the same tiny tidbit.  

In 1845, Sarah Mather received a patent for the invention of a submarine telescope and lamp. This was a remarkable device that permitted sea-going vessels to survey the depths of the ocean.

Who is Sarah Mathers? Why do we know so little about a women whose name is on file with this significant invention? 

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