Margaret Crane

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Margaret M. Crane
Nationality United States
Known for Invention of the at-home pregnancy test
Scientific career
Fields Graphic Design, Product Design
Margaret Crane's patent illustration for "Diagnostic Test Device", the first home pregnancy test

Margaret M. Crane (Meg Crane) is a United States inventor and graphic designer who lives in New York. Crane created the first at home pregnancy test in 1967 while working at Organon in West Orange, New Jersey.[1] She is the listed inventor on US Patent 3,579,306 and 215,7774.[2] There was resistance to marketing pregnancy tests for consumers rather than doctors, and the home pregnancy test did not become available until 1977, except for a market test in Canada in 1972.[1]

She was also a juror in the 2004 trial of Martha Stewart for lying to federal investigators during an insider trading investigation.[3]


Margret Crane, 26, was hired by the Organon Pharmaceuticals in 1967 to work on a new cosmetic line for the company. One day as she was touring the laboratory of the company she noticed many test tubes. Curious to what they were, she asked and to her surprise they were pregnancy tests. Each individual test tube was contained regents that when mixed with a pregnant woman's urine would indicate pregnancy by displaying a red ring at the bottom of the test tube. Inspired by this invention, Margret Crane wanted to cut out the middle man (the doctor) and make this test a home pregnancy test. She thought it was easy enough to do that women could perform this test at home and in a quicker fashion. She took matters into her own hands and went to her home in New York to begin working on her prototype. She combined a paper clip holder, a test tube, a mirror, and a dropper. She put her invention together and presented it to the Organon a couple of months later. With success, they applied for a patent in her name in 1969.[4] During the auction house where she was promoting her prototype for sale she came across a man named Ira Sturtevant, who was an ad man from the Netherlands and took a particular interest in Margret Cranes prototype. He was intrigued by how elegantly the home pregnancy kit was put together. They went on to become partners for more than 40 years until his passing in 2008. With success the pair went on to building their own design company named Ponzi and Weill. They went on to earning a test run in Canada. “Every woman has the right to know whether or not she is pregnant,” said an early ad for the test that women “can do it by yourself, at home, in private, in minutes.” This was Margret Canes biggest motivator to invent the at home pregnancy kit. Due to the food and drug administration rules for medical devices it took a while to receive approval for her prototype in the Unites States. Although her name was on the patent for the device and was licensed by Organon by the companies that bought it, Crane never received a penny for her design. She had to sign off her rights for a dollar and never saw that dollar. However, she did not mind because she was content with receiving the business for the marketing company. She was also grateful to have met her partner in the process. It was not until 2012 when the New York Times ran a short "who Made It" feature and Crane received proper recognition for her prototype that simplified the pregnancy of many women. [5]