Read Cindy's bio and previous columns
January 14, 2008
Edison and Franklin Invented Nothing; It Was Their Mothers!
They say that necessity
is the mother of all invention, and now that I have two children under
the age of two, that makes a lot of sense. There are lots of inventions
I’d never thought I’d need, but do. Like the Pack-n-Play that makes
overnight travel not only possible, but enjoyable. Or the crib mobile,
whose soothing sounds help keep me from toppling over from tiredness –
baby rocking in my arms – at 4 a.m.
So, while that saying
may be true, I have a feeling that behind many famous inventions, there
was a mom. Their children have received the recognition, money or fame
for these inventions, but it’s time to give credit where credit is due.
For example, the game
History tells us that a
Canadian native, looking for a game kids could play indoors during cold
winters, invented it. But if I were a betting woman, I’d put money on
the fact that he got the idea from his mom, who – like me – used it as a
fun way to get her children to pick 100 toys off the living room floor.
All he did was name it, add some rules, and paint lines on the floor.
There’s also the
Indoor fires have been
around since people lived in caves. Later, chimneys allowed that to be
done a little more safely. So let’s face it: Mantels aren’t a necessity
for smoke to exit a building. But they’re absolutely required for
keeping pictures, vases and candles off of end-tables and out of a
toddler’s reach. My apologies to the 17th Century castle
architects of England and Spain, but come on guys! The cat is out of the
bag. You and I both know that your moms, in desperate need of a way to
keep you from drinking the oil from lamps, or from treating the
gunpowder like a sandbox, surely gave you the original mantelpiece idea.
And let us not forget
the car radio.
Two brothers, Paul and
Joseph Galvin, invented the first car radio in the 1930s. I have two
sons myself, and it is without reservation that I assure you this idea
came from their mother.
In the car, children
have to be entertained. And when they’re too young to punch each other
playing Slug Bug, that diversion from the fact that they’re trapped in a
backseat for who-knows-how-long can only come from one place. Mom. So
while Mrs. Galvin may not have hooked a wire up to a battery down below
and an antenna up above, she undoubtedly gave her boys news reports,
sang silly songs and more.
Who knows? Perhaps she
should also be credited for the first radio commercial. She may just
have been bored enough to talk to her boys – on walks to the store or in
the kitchen while making dinner – about the beauty of such recently
invented products as instant coffee, toasters or Band-Aids.
The more I think about
it, the more this makes sense, and I’m positive that moms are behind a
lot more inventions that their sons eventually perfected.
A few more come quickly
to mind. Toasters. (Bread? It’s OK, but hot bread is even better and I’m
tired of burning my fingers!). Remote controls. (If my husband gets up
from the couch, he might see that I’m taking a shot straight from the
bottle while I make his whiskey and Coke). Telephones. (Help! It’s 2
p.m. and I need some adult conversation – and fast!)
And – my personal
favorite – the Doppler radar (Mittens? Rain boots? Well, he’ll just have
to carry all these items to school and there won’t be any room for his
books in his backpack – again!)
So, like me, you may
have thanked our foremothers for inventing parenthood conveniences like
baby monitors, Bumbo chairs and bottle warmers. I am happy to have
brought you – just like Paul Harvey says – the rest of the story.
© 2008 North Star Writers
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This is Column # CD078.
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