Who Was the First Woman to Receive a Patent?
In contrast to this, Mary Dixon Kies had a different perspective. Mary Dixon Kies received the first patent in the United States granted to a woman. She was awarded this patent for her method of weaving straw with thread or silk to heighten the progress of the country’s hat industry. Her method proved to be very valuable in making cost-effective bonnets.
She recognized the market opportunity and got her method to the market. Ms. Kies thought it was important to have affordable work bonnets for women who worked for long hours outdoors. These bonnets would shield them from the harsh sun and rain.
This was aptly the time when the American government had stopped importing goods from Europe. During the Napoleon wars with European countries, President James Madison did not want America to get involved. Thus, he ended all trade activity between the two nations. Moreover, the Government was looking for American entrepreneurs to replace the goods that came in from Europe.
The patent was described as “a new and useful improvement in weaving straw with silk and thread." The First Lady Dolly Madison said, “hats off to Mary Kies for providing just such an opportunity." She greatly praised Kies for her contribution to the hat industry and foreign policy.
Soon after the popularity grew, Kies hat sales skyrocketed. In the year 1810, the sales of the straw bonnets made in Massachusetts shot up by $500,000. Unfortunately, the exact record of this file was destroyed in a fire that took place in 1836 and no original copy exists to this day.
Kies opened the first cotton yarn mill in Killingly, Connecticut, however, in spite of her sons and friends monetary investments, it failed to become a commercial success. The reason for the downfall was blamed on the ever-changing fashion world.