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The mind behind the flat bottom paper bag

We’ve all tossed a sandwich or two in a flat bottom paper bag and didn’t think twice about how it was invented. While we take it for granted today, there was one woman that made a simple item much more accessible.

A Look Back In Time

Before Margaret Eloise Knight was considered “the most famous 19th-century woman inventor” she was first known as Mattie by her parents.

Mattie was far more interested in woodworking and was well known among the community for the kites and sleds she built for other children. As she grew older, her tinkering skills served her well after witnessing an accident at the mill she worked at. In a short amount of time, she gathered together the necessary components to create a safety device. While this first invention never got the chance to be patented, she no doubt saved people from many workplace injuries.

Margaret managed several jobs in her lifetime, but her most notable invention was the flat-bottomed paper bag machine with the patent number US109224A. One man even tried to steal her invention, but she swiftly debunked his claims in court by showcasing her knowledge of the mechanics and won her rights to the patent.

Inventor’s Impact

I’m only sorry I couldn’t have had as good a chance as a boy, and have been put to my trade regularly. - Margaret

Like many women in her day, she never got to see many profits from her inventions, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her passions. Margaret invented her entire lifetime and received nearly 30 patents that covered a variety of industries.

She earned her place in herstory, and her inventions continue to impact our daily life even in the modern age.

So the next time you pack a sack lunch or pick up groceries in a paper bag, think of our friend Margaret and just how far an invention can reach.

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