Margaret E. Knight

Inventor

1838 – 1914

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Who was Margaret E. Knight?

Margaret E. Knight was an American inventor. She has been called "the most famous 19th-century woman inventor".

She was born in York, Maine to James Knight and Hannah Teal. James Knight died when Margaret was a little girl. Knight went to school until she was twelve and worked in a cotton mill between ages 12 through 1856. In 1868, while living in Springfield, Massachusetts, Knight invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the flat bottomed brown paper bags familiar to shoppers today.

Knight built a wooden model of the device, but needed a working iron model to apply for a patent. Charles Annan, who was in the machine shop where Knight's iron model was being built, stole her design and patented the device. Knight filed a successful patent interference lawsuit and was awarded the patent in 1871. With a Massachusetts business man, Knight established the Eastern Paper Bag Co. and received royalties.

Her many other inventions included a numbering machine, window frame and sash, patented in 1894, and several devices relating to rotary engines, patented between 1902 and 1915. Knight's original box-making machine is in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C..

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Born
Feb 14, 1838
York
Also known as
  • Margaret Ethridge Knight
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Lived in
  • Maine
Died
Oct 12, 1914

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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