Marion Donovan

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Marion Donovan (* 1917 in Fort Wayne , Indiana as Marion O'Brien ; † November 4, 1998 ) was an American architect and inventor of the disposable diaper .

She was born Marion O'Brien in Fort Wayne , Indiana in 1917 . Her mother died when she was seven years old and so she grew up in a man's world that was shaped by her father, who produced transmissions for the automotive industry in his own workshop and also made numerous inventions.

She graduated in English literature in 1939 near Philadelphia at Rosemont College and worked in New York for the fashion magazine Vogue . After marrying businessman James Donovan, she moved to Westport , Connecticut and became a housewife and mother.

In 1946, through her children, she came up with the idea of ​​having to do something about the constantly full and leaking diapers and remembered her roots as an inventor's daughter in order to revolutionize the work of women with diapers . On her sewing machine, she sewed the first diaper pants from various shower curtains that were worn over the cloth diaper. In contrast to rubber pants , which were already available as diaper pants at the time, babies no longer developed a diaper rash . She called these overpants Boaters because they kept babies "stay afloat". The final version of Boater arose from parachute - Nylon and had additionally instead of safety pins push buttons of plastic and metal .

She sold the Boater for the first time in New York in 1949 and was very popular with the mothers. In 1951 she got the patent for the boater and worked on the disposable diaper made of paper . It wasn't easy to find a type of paper that could soak up liquid fast enough to keep moisture away from baby's skin and prevent diaper rash.

Donovan offered her invention to several paper mills in the US and was always ridiculed. Ten years later, Victor Mills (chemical engineer at industrial giant Procter & Gamble ) made a fortune inventing the Pampers .

Marion Donovan closed the meantime the study of architecture at Yale University , and left in 1980 her own design house in Greenwich , Connecticut build. She had a total of over a dozen patents , most of the inventions being household items.

In 2015 she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame .

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