Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Engine Muffler: Inventions by Women A-Z

(rt) El Dorado Jones (1860-1932)
El Dorado Jones was no ordinary woman in her time. She never
married and learned to function on her own without a man's help. She taught school, sold insurance, and then discovered she could make more money with her inventions.

She started a factory (Eldorado Inventions, Inc.) in Illinois to produce her products and hired only women past the age of 40. Her ability to work with metal soon earned her a reputation as a successful businesswoman and the nickname "Iron Woman." 

The products were mainly for women: a light weight electric iron, a travel size ironing board, and a collapsible hat rack. But a later invention, an airplane engine muffler in 1919, could have been her greatest invention, and perhaps, made her a fortune.

El Dorado needed financial backing for its production, but her reputation as a man-hater turned potential male backers away. Reportedly, businessmen offered to buy her factory, but she adamantly refused. Apparently, her dislike of men was not a casual dislike, but a blatant hatred of all men. 

She was quoted as saying: “The only way to get along is to seek the difficult job, always do it well, and see that you get paid for it properly. Oh yes, and don’t forget to exploit men all you can.  Because if you don’t, they will exploit you.”

Based on the concept of the automobile muffler, the airplane muffler had a lot of potential in controlling aircraft noise. It tested successfully in New York, but because of El Dorado's known reputation against men, the New York Times refused to give her due credit in their report. It hurt her financially and she never recovered from the blow.
The Airplane Engine Muffler (patented in 1923)

 Even the most ardent of feminists, it has been said, know that ticking off the male population would never earn any respect for their causes. Male support was as crucial then as it is today, more so in the campaign at the time for women's rights. Apparently, El Dorado never made peace with that. After her business failed, she was forced to apply for public assistance (welfare), and later was found dead in her bed by a neighbor.

Sad, isn't it? What do you think?




Sources:
https://historydepot.wordpress.com/tag/airplane-muffler/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Dorado_Jones
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9507E2D81131E633A25754C2A9679D946394D6CF


Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl 

35 comments:

  1. Definitely a sad end. It's great that she was able to get on and be a success on her own terms, but I can see how that would rub a lot of men up the wrong way. But thanks to her, we can all have quiet, peaceful flights! An invention that we probably never think about but none the less essential.

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    1. I would love to hear the real story behind all this. Why was she so angry?

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    2. My thought sexuality. Why such fierce misandry? I'll speculate by saying that her father was not a nice man.

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  2. Sounds to me like there is a story behind her hatred of men. Such a shame that such a clever and inventive woman was dragged so low because of prejudice.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. Yes, certainly....there has to be more to the story.

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  3. Yes, it is very sad. This was sure a remarcable woman. I wonder why she was such a hater of men. I mean, she ended up baing damaged by her own hate. That's strange.

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    1. I guess all we can do now is to focus on her talent and skill. I'm blow away that she could invent a muffler!

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  4. Very sad for a very clever woman. I must congratulate you on an excellent post, very informative although as I said sad.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Truly sad for her factory too, which I assume affected the workers. Thanks!

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  5. Hi Sharon - appalling .. the trouble was (and in some respects still is) that was the way it was .. so many hardships .. but not getting credit where credit is due seems so unfair.

    Apparently Hershel's sister did much of his work ... and then there's Rosalind Franklin who eventually got credited with some of the kudos for working out DNA .. even though I think the Nobel Prize Committee can only award two winners - even so ...

    Life can be grossly unfair .. interesting woman though, so thanks for letting us know about El Dorado Jones and her Engine Muffler .. fascinating - cheers Hilary

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    1. It does seem to be the case with others as well. Life really is unfair at times!

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  6. Hi Sharon.
    Intriguing tale, isn't it? I'm sure she's not the first person to have their hopes and dreams dashed to pieces. I too, would be curious to know the back-story, but even then, would it be some Hollywood exaggeration, or a true story and history of a remarkable woman?

    I find that jealousy, money, and power account for the largest abuses. I suspect El Dorado Jones met up with one of the three - end of story - end of life. Today I can still appreciate her efforts toward mankind. After all, that's what it was; a better invnetion to benefit all who chose to fly. So who would have been opposed to that? No one, but plenty might have been opposed to her getting ahead in the world, even if by her own efforts. That makes it the saddest of stories.

    Wonderful sharing. This is one of the best "E" posts I've read today! (smile)

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    1. Thank you, Dixie! This was my first time learning about El Dorado too. Primary sources would dig deeper into the story behind the story, assuming there are such sources. I hope someone does someday.

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    2. I was only thinking that Hollywood should have a crack at telling her remarkable and ultimately tragic story.

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  7. Oh there is always more to the story and usually one can find it in their childhood. She was an amazing woman even is she had faults that led to her later issues. She should be given more credit now but men do rule in this area. Glad you talked about this as I never knew

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    1. I imagine being tough as nails in her youth worked to some degree. She established a factory and hired a crew. Also the world is more forgiving in our youth. Things change as we get older.

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  8. This is too sad Sharon. Reminds me of many women in history who were overlooked for their contributions. Rosalind Franklin who was disregarded by James and Watson in the detection of DNA comes immediately to mind. O I see Hilary mentioned this above. Thank you for this. I'm much enjoying your posts. Maybe make them into a hand/ebook or some such?

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    1. Women had a disadvantage in those days. The business (and science) world was a man's world from what I've read. As smart and clever as El Dorado was, she failed in people skills, which of course doesn't make right what happened. Perhaps, had she been a man, she would have punched a few noses. Or maybe she did, hard to say! I'm just glad she finally got credit!

      Had not thought of an e-book. I think the images become a copyright issue so not sure how that works. Thanks though for the suggestion!

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  9. Love that photo of her. I suppose the story proves it's not good to be politically incorrect, and a little diplomacy doesn't hurt!

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    1. I do too. You can tell that under all that grease she was a beautiful woman, at least outwardly. I think she failed at diplomacy....perhaps something she later deeply regretted. I wish we knew more about her!

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  10. Oh wow. She sounds like an amazing woman. WAY ahead of her time.

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    1. I haven't a clue how an engine works, let alone a muffler. There's no doubt she was talented. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie.

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  11. The saddest! She sounds like such an amazing woman (and with an amazing name, too!). I wonder what drove her to hate men so much. And how is this story not more well known?!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. I keep wanting to research her name more....didn't see anything. Others have asked the same question....why isn't this story more well known?

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  12. Hi Sharon,

    Such a bitter sweet story. Triumph, to do degree and a tragedy that a life ended in such a sad way. It does indeed make you wonder why more is not mentioned of this gifted yet tormented woman.

    Thank you for a thoughtful, fascinating read, Sharon.

    In kindness,

    Gary

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    1. Thanks, Gary! And glad you are back blogging.....you must be feeling better :-)

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  13. If only more motorists in Japan made use of their mufflers! It's so annoying that people on scooters, especially, remove their mufflers to make them as loud as possible... ear-splitting. :(

    She sounds like she was an awesome woman. At least she never shirked her principles. Her story is sad.

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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    1. Hmm...I noticed the same with scooters in Malaysia and Thailand. Maybe an Asian thing?
      I remember guys in U.S. in high school did the same with their mufflers on cars. Ha! We all thought it was so cool then. I think it's illegal now.

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  14. I suppose most bankers and loan agencies were controlled by men. Ahem, I believe that may still be true. I don't hate men. I just want fair treatment. I've enjoyed this post.

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  15. I really think someone needs to write some historical fiction about her...bring things to life more as to what happened. Thanks!

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  16. What an interesting story. While I can sort of see where her grudge lied, she sort of sliced her nose to spite her face.

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  17. She she did. A good way to put it. Thanks for stopping by, Andrea!

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  18. I just recently finished some research on Eldorado. You're welcome to view it here: https://eldoradojones.wordpress.com/

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  19. Thank you for your link and the additional research on Eldorado. Fascinating learning about her genealogy. I encourage others visiting this post to check out Ray's post!

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    1. Thank you. Feel free to share the blog. And don't forget to check out the others. Start with Ella Harper, the one that got me into this.

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