Nothing like a straw hat for a lady to look especially chic, right? And the Patent Act of 1790 opened the door for any U.S. citizen to protect his/her invention with a patent. I am sure that most did not figure women would get in on this--especially back in the date. Most women didn't even try to patent their ideas. However, Mary Dixon Kies had other ideas. She had invented a way to improve hat-making. Betsy Metcalf actually invented a method of straw weaving, but she didn't patent her invention. She said she didn't want her name going to Congress. (I probably wouldn't have minded back then, but in light of today, I can understand her trepidation! I don't know I would want my name going to today's Congress.) Kies didn't have the same concern. She patented her way of weaving straw with silk. Unfortunately, she didn't make any money with her invention, and she died penniless.
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