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Dolley Madison
First Lady Dolley Madison would be amazed at American ingenuity now; in 1999 alone, 169,154 U.S. patents were issued

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

Mary Kies was not the first American woman to improve hat making. In 1798, New Englander Betsy Metcalf invented a method of braiding straw. Her method became very popular, and she employed many women to make her hats, but she didn't patent her process. When asked why, Metcalf said she didn't want her name being sent to Congress. Kies had a different perspective, and she couldn't have picked a better time to secure her new product, because the U.S. government had stopped importing European goods. (Napolean was at war with many nations of Europe at the time, and one way he tried to win the war was to block trade and hurt his enemies economically. The U.S. did not want to be drawn into this conflict.) President Madison was looking for American industries to replace the lost European goods. First lady Dolley Madison said hats off to Mary Kies for providing just such an opportunity.
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