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Woman Wearing Large Blue Hat
Weaving straw and silk, Kies could create fashionable hats of the day--a lot different than today!

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Mary Kies Became the First Woman to Receive a U.S. Patent
May 5, 1809

Have you ever invented something? If you have, you may want to do what Mary Kies did: patent it. The Patent Act of 1790 opened the door for anyone, male or female, to protect his or her invention with a patent. However, because in many states women could not legally own property independent of their husbands, many women inventors didn't bother to patent their new inventions. Mary Kies broke that pattern on May 5, 1809. She became the first woman to receive a U.S. patent for her method of weaving straw with silk. With her new method, Kies could make and sell beautiful hats such as this one, and, by law, no one else could sell hats just like hers. That's how a patent works.
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