Uplifting ideas, stories and inspiration from around the world
Women of invention
Machines, medicines, aircraft, central heating... women have invented things in a staggering variety of elds, often working in obscurity. In our mini series, we shine a spotlight on a female inventor who changed the world.
In the 1940’s, Hungarian-American engineer Maria Telkes worked for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Solar Energy Conversation Project (try reeling off that job title at parties), where she developed a house that used glass and metal panels to trap the sun’s heat. It was then funnelled into storage bins in the walls full of sodium sulfate. On sunny days, the salt melted and absorbed the heat, then on cold days the salt cooled and recrystallised, keeping the house warm purely with the absorbed heat.
This started the innovation for capturing and deploying solar energy. Maria then spent the next 50 years coming up with more innovative solar power designs, truly earning her nickname, ‘Sun Queen’.
We have a rubbish taste in interiors – literally! Pentatonic is a company who are in “the business of resurrection”, making stylish pieces of homeware by recycling the stuff that we chuck away every day.
Their signature item is the personalised ‘Airtool’ chair; a sleek and comfortable seat made from recycled ocean plastic. You can build it any way, colour and height that you like for a truly unique piece of furniture.
Plus, if you ever get bored of your Pentatonic piece (doubtful), you can just trade it back to the company and they’ll make it into something else. All hail the rise of the circular economy.