Hannah Wilkinson Slater, wife of industrialist Samuel Slater invented two-ply cotton sewing thread, and in 1793, this invention made her the first American woman to be granted a patent. She was inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006. Her wax statue along with the invention can be seen at the Slater’s Mill Museum in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Photo by lhwilkinson on Flickr

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