on 18 November 2003
As a Cornishwoman, how could I resist a subtitle that mentions saffron (From Tincture of Saffron to Flying Machines) and a woman inventor called Eleanor Coade, which was my maiden name?
Deborah Jaffe has travelled widely and researched thoroughly to produce this absorbing account of the huge range of ideas generated and patented by talented women from 1637 to the First World War. Generously illustrated with diagrams and pictures, she leads the reader through a dazzling variety of items from the domestic to the industrial.
And what did Mrs. Coade do? She invented a formula to make a ceramic-based, hard wearing material which was used in buildings and garden ornaments. The illustration on page 8 shows a building with Coade stone still in good condition over three hundred years since it was put in place.
This book will be invaluable for many people, the general reader for its fascination, students for the meticulous presentation of the history of major developments in, for example, electricity, engineering, the car industry and of feminism.