20th Century

Women, Science, and Technology

Science and Technology

Science and Technology developed greatly over this time. Great inventions like aircraft carriers, hip replacements, radio systems, and the portable defibrillator. Also during this time, vitamins were discovered, as well as insulin, and cigarettes being linked to cancer.


Throughout the 20th century, women gained the right to vote. Suffragettes fought for women's rights. By 1917 there was a Women's Royal Naval Service and Air Force. New technology helped women gain the same rights as men.

Technology and Inventions of this century

The Vacuum

The vacuum was invented in 1901 by Hubert Cecil Booth, who was a British Engineer. Booth first demonstrated his vacuum in a restaurant, and it was successful. Before people had vacuums, they hung their rugs outside on a wall or a line, and hit them repeatedly with a carpet beater, to get rid of as much dirt as possible.

The Portable Defibrillator

Invented in 1965, by Professor Frank Pantridge, the Portable Defibrillator saved many lives. This machine was used to check the heart's rhythm and send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore the heart back to it's normal rhythm. They are used to treat sudden cardiac arrests. This machine started at a weight of about 150 pounds, but by 1968, it weighed only six. They are now being used many times daily, across the world.


Insulin was discovered in 1921, by Frederick Banting, John Macleod, Charles Best, and James Collip. It had become a lifesaver, when treating diabetes. Insulin was discovered by injecting the hormone into a diabetic dog, and they found it lowered the dog's blood glucose levels to normal. Before insulin was discovered, people with diabetes didn't live very long, because there wasn't a lot that doctors could do for them.

The 1944 Education Act

The 1944 Education Act established the principle of free education. This was the most important piece of legislation of the 20th century, in the history of English education. Before this act, the 1930's were a decade of frustration for education reformers. Many didn't complete school before this act. This act was an attempt at structure for schools and education.