Marion Donovan

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Marion Donovan

Inventor of disposable nappies

It is said that creativity was born when we faced our first problem. And thanks to the creativity of a few, problems are solved for the rest of humanity.

Marion Donovan’s father and uncle developed a machine to polish the curved parts of cars and gun barrels, while she (tired of washing her children’s nappies and sheets) designed and perfected a waterproof cover, thus inventing disposable nappies.

After selling this and some other patents, she obtained a Master of Architecture at forty-one years of age. There were only three women in her class.

Many of her inventions were solutions to ordinary household problems, like a soap dish that drained into the sink, a compact multi-clothes hanger, dental floss… All these inventions triggered ironic comments like “women’s stuff” or “I could do better”. Neither of which is true. People will always be grateful for such useful inventions later on.