Women Were Business Trailblazers, Too?

By DeMatteo, Ann | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), March 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

Women Were Business Trailblazers, Too?


DeMatteo, Ann, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


By Ann DeMatteo

Assistant Metro Editor adematteo@nhregister.com

HAMDEN -- Jill S. Tietjen, an author, speaker and electrical engineer, poured out facts about women in the United States that not many are aware of: The 14-year-old who first commercially processed indigo dye in 1744; the woman whose research on bacteria and refrigeration in 1895 led to safer eggs, poultry and fish.

Imagine walking into your grocery store and not seeing fish on ice, she said.

"Would you want to buy that fish?" Tietjen asked a group of students at Hamden High School Wednesday morning. "Noooo," they responded.

In those days, they called Mary Engle Pennington the "ice lady" because she encouraged vendors to put their meat and fish on ice. Pennington was behind the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and developed the egg carton, among other accomplishments, Tietjen said.

In the 1930s, Lillian Gilbreth and her husband, Frank, tested industrial engineering theories in their household of 12 children, the topic of the "Cheaper by the Dozen" movies. She received a medal from the Society of Industrial Engineers for her time studies.

Among her creations were the foot lever for the garbage pail, the scalpel used in operating rooms and more.

"All these things you don't think about that impact the United States every day," said Tietjen.

Pennington, Gilbreth and 848 other female trailblazers are mentioned in a 2008 book researched and written by Tietjen and Charlotte S. Waisman, "Her Story, A Timeline of the Women who Changed America."

Tietjen, from Colorado, spoke at Hamden High Wednesday morning and at the North Haven Library Wednesday night as part of a Women's History Month program sponsored by the Hamden-North Haven League of Women Voters.

At Hamden High, Tietjen gave students a visual and oral review of a number of female inventors, scientists and reformers who broke ground with their discoveries and quests. …

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