Mary Kenner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mary Beatrice Davidson
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner died 2006.jpg
Born17 May 1912
Died13 January 2006
NationalityUnited States of America
Known forinventing

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner (May 17, 1912 – January 13, 2006) was an African-American inventor most noted for her development of the sanitary belt. Racial discrimination prevented its adoption for thirty years.


She was born in Monroe, North Carolina and credited her father, Sidney Nathaniel Davidson (June 1890-November 1958), with giving her a thirst for discovering things.[1] Her sister, Mildred Davidson Austin Smith (1916–1993), was also an inventor.


She invented the sanitary belt with moisture-proof napkin pocket. The sanitary napkin wasn't used until 1956, thirty years after she had first invented it. The company that first showed interest in her invention rejected it after they discovered that she was an African American woman. Between 1956 and 1987 she received five patents for her household and personal item creations.[2] She invented a bathroom tissue holder which she patented with patent number US 4354643 , on October 19, 1982.[3][4] and a back washer mounted on the shower or bathtub wall, which she patented in 1987. She also patented the carrier attachment for an invalid walker in 1959.[1]

Other work[edit]

She worked as a professional floral arranger and had her own business in the field of Washington DC area.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner". Pioneering Women Herstory. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  2. ^ David, Lenwood. "Women Inventors". NCPedia. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Celebrating African American Women Inventors". Colorblind Magazine. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  4. ^ Bellis, Mary. "Black History Month - African American Patent Holders - J to K to L". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  5. ^ Carter Sluby, Patricia. "African American Brilliance" (PDF). NCDCR. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Blashfield, Jean F. (1996) Women inventors. Minneapolis: Capstone Press. Vol. 4, pp. 11–16
  • Jeffrey, Laura S. (September 1, 2013) Amazing American Inventors of the 20th Century. Enslow Publishers, pp 29–35
  • Sluby, Patricia C. (2004) The Inventive Spirit of African Americans: Patented Ingenuity. Westport, Conn: Praeger, pp 147–150
  • Women Inventors. Women Inventors | NCpedia, 2011,