Maria Beasley

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Maria Beasley's life raft patent, April 6, 1880.

Maria E. Beasley (née Kenny)[1] was born in Philadelphia. She was an entrepreneur and inventor. Overall, she held fourteen different patents in two countries.[2]


Beasley was married in 1865.[1] She held various jobs over time, including dressmaker.[1] Between 1891 and 1896, Chicago directories listed her occupation as inventor.[1]

Beasley's first patent was granted in 1878.[1] She then had invented a barrel-hooping machine, which she showed at the World Industrial and Cotton Exposition in 1884.[1] She also exhibited her improved life raft which was patented in 1882.[3] Beasley's barrel-hooping machine made her quite a lot of money, with the Evening Star writing in 1889, that she "made a small fortune out of a machine for the manufacture of barrels."[4] Her invention could make 1,500 barrels a day.[5] Beasley's other inventions included foot warmers, cooking pans, anti-derailment devices for trains[6] and two improved life raft designs, which were also patented in Britain.[1] Her life rafts were used on the Titanic.[7]

The Life Raft[edit]

In Maria's later life she wanted to create a better life raft that was "fire-proof, compact, safe and readily launched." She invented this new design in 1880 (picture is unavailable due to copyright) her new design included guard railings surrounding the raft and rectangular metal floats. This design is able to fold and unfold fold so it is easy to store, even with the rails.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Stanley 1995, p. 348.
  2. ^ Khan, B. Zorina (2005). The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790-1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780521811354.
  3. ^ Himsl, Sharon M. (2015-04-14). "Sharon's Shells, Tales and Sails : L is for Life Raft: Inventions by Women A-Z". Sharon's Shells, Tales and Sails. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  4. ^ "Women as Inventors". Evening Star. 9 November 1889. Retrieved 8 May 2017 – via
  5. ^ "Busy Women". Arkansas Democrat. 14 September 1901. Retrieved 8 May 2017 – via
  6. ^ Jones, Jared (9 March 2016). "Celebrate Women's History Month with 12 awesome things invented by women". Upworthy. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  7. ^ "6 Female Inventors Who Made the World a Safer Place | Direct Auto". Direct Connect. 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2017-05-08.


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