Famous Women in Automotive History

March is recognized as National Women’s History Month, so we thought this would be a great time to talk about some of the famous women in automotive history.


Mary Anderson

By Otto Sarony – New York Star (January 30, 1909) Vol.1 No.118, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27126101

  • Mary Anderson. In 1903, this woman invented something that is used on every single car in the world today—the windshield wiper. Her version was a swinging arm with a rubber blade that was manually operated from inside the car. So, the next time you switch on your wipers, think about automotive pioneer Mary Anderson.



By Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research – http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=4236, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29853458

  • Florence Lawrence. Silent film star Florence Lawrence purchased her first car in 1913 and realized it was missing some important safety features—turn signals and brake lights. So, she invented. Her simple invention didn’t actually involve lights, but was an “auto signaling arm” that would raise a sign indicating which direction the driver was going to turn. The brake signal raised a “stop” sign.



By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32749436

  • Helene Rother. In 1943, she was hired as the first female automotive designer. She was originally a French jewelry designer, but GM hired her to design some elegant interiors for upscale cars. She spent much of the rest of her career on automotive interior design.


Old Timey Race

By CaptainVegas – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16926882

  • Denise McCluggage. She was one of the most celebrated racers of the 1950s, conquering the most difficult tracks all over the world.


As you can see, women played a vital role in making the automotive industry what it is today.

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