Ready to go shopping? You cannot do so without shopping bags, can you?
Francis Wolle, an American, invented and patented a machine in 1852 which could produce envelope shaped paper bags. Margaret E. Knight, also an American, improved on Wolle’s design and invented a machine which could mass produce flat-bottomed paper bags. She had a number of other inventions to her credit and thus came to be known as 19th century’s most famous woman inventor!
Knight initially created a wooden machine which folded and glued paper to form the bags. In order to apply for a patent she was required to create an iron machine.
Unfortunately, a man named Charles Annan saw the iron machine in the shop where it was being fabricated. He stole Knight’s design and applied for a patent for the same. Knight’s patent application was hence rejected. She decided to sue Annan and filed a patent interference lawsuit . Knight won the case after she provided the drawings of her design, as proof.
Knight was awarded the patent for the machine in 1871. She went on to establish the Eastern Paper Bag Company.