In the world of invention and innovation, the gents tend to get the lion’s share of public recognition. This is certainly true for innovators of household products, even products that are staples and household names. For example, we’ve all heard of William Procter and James Gamble, but show of hands: Who’s heard of Annie Murray? Mrs. Murray was the wife of an early investor in the failing Electro-Alkaline Company in 1916. Their chief product, Clorox Bleach, had up to that point been used by industry and the military (who, no joke, used it to clean battlefield wounds). Annie saw it’s potential as a household cleaner.
ANNIE: We should market liquid bleach to housewives. The money will… uh… Pour in.
MR MURRAY: You’re crazy. That’s the worst idea since plastic.
ANNIE: Watch this.
Mrs. Murray started putting small, diluted bottles of Clorox for sale in grocery stores, some other stuff happened, and well, here we are 100 years later, where we’ve all got the stuff in our laundry rooms. If your whites are whiter and your toilet seat is so clean you could eat off it, you have Annie Murray to thank. Her forward-thinking vision and diligence turned a company who could hardly raise five hundred bucks into the multinational kagillionaires we know of today.
Speaking of Whiteners’, another product that owes its success to an innovative woman is under your feet. Catherine Evans Whitener (see what I did there?) revolutionized the tufting handcraft in the 1890’s, and soon great swaths of the southern United States were using what they learned from her to produce tufted bedspreads. As things tended to do in the age of industry, the handcrafted tufting was made more efficient by machines, and eventually the technology for making bedspreads became the technology of carpet manufacturing. Today, Dalton, GA, the hometown of Whitener, is the hub of the industry, where most carpet in the United States originates from. The carpet in your own home and/or office probably speaks with a southern drawl.
For more information on the history of Clorox, follow this link: http://oaklandlocal.com/2013/07/the-clorox-company-celebrates-a-bright-shiny-century-in-oakland/
For more on the manufacturing history of carpet and its relationship to Dalton, GA, try this one: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/carpet-industry
And remember, outside of this particular blog post, bleach and carpet should always be kept separate. Be you female or be you male, no amount of innovation in your possession will make this combination end favorably!