Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marion Donovan

If necessity is the mother of inventions, today's Hero of Capitalism quickly became inventive. Marion Donovan was a new, young mother when she became tired of cloth diapers that would immediately become soaked through.

Donovan began work on developing a waterproof diaper cover in 1946. Using a shower curtain and innovation, she developed a diaper cover that was reusable and leak proof. The new cover also did not create diaper rash, an improvement over the rubber baby pants. In 1949, Saks Fifth Avenue began selling her new product, now made out of parachute cloth and with the added invention of snaps to replace safety pins. Donovan's diaper cover was named the "Boater" because it helped babies stay afloat and was an instant success.

While Donovan had found a solution to her initial problem, she continued to work on developing a more user friendly diaper and invented the first disposable paper diaper. Donovan's second diaper invention was slower to sell. Her disposable paper diaper was seen as "unnecessary and impractical". Donovan worked to further develop the product herself and eventually sold the idea of disposable paper diapers to Victor Mills, the creator of Pampers.

Donovan's invention has made life simpler, cleaner, and more enjoyable for millions of parents. Her invention is just one of many in the history of the diaper, but the diaper and Donovan's inventions show that innovation is ever present in our daily lives and something that seems silly and unneeded now might soon seen like a God send and an example of "How did people ever live without this?" in a year.

MIT Inventor of the week: Marion Donovan - Marion Donovan

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