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Marion Donovan
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (October 15, 1917-November 4, 1998)
    Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Birth name was Marion O’Brien
    Developed the boater, a waterproof diaper cover (1949)
    Designed the first disposable diaper (1951)
    Held four patents related to diapers, sixteen related to other inventions
    Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2015)
    She divorced her first husband.
    She was unable to convince manufacturers to make either the boater or the disposable diaper.
    Disposable diapers add 3.4 million tons of waste to landfills each year.
    She resembled Rosalind Russell.
    After she earned a degree in architecture from Yale, she designed her own house.
    She said one question guided her inventing: ‘What do I think will help a lot of people and most certainly will help me?’
    Unlike existing rubber pants, her boaters did not cause chafing and diaper rash.
    When she was unable to find an existing company willing to market her boaters, she began manufacturing them herself and selling them at Saks Fifth Avenue.
    The president of Saks wrote to her, ‘It is not often that a new innovation in the infants’ wear field goes over with the immediate success of your boaters.’
    When Proctor and Gamble began marketing Pampers in 1961, they bore an uncanny resemblance to her design of a decade earlier.

Credit: C. Fishel

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