Tag Archives: fabulous females

Pancho Barnes

PanchoIt’s Fab Female Friday! This week: Florence Lowe Barnes, aka Pancho. Maybe you’ve heard about this fearless gal!

Aviatrix. Record breaker. Rancher. Stunt Flyer. Mom. Hollywood elbow-rubber. High-flyer.

Pancho was born in Pasadena, California in 1901 and was the granddaughter to the man who pioneered American Aviation with the Union Army Balloon corps.

Flash forward several decades>>>

One day as Pancho took her cousin to his flying lessons, she realized she too wanted to soar in the big blue. A persuasive woman, she convinced her cousin’s instructor to begin teaching her that very day.

A quick learner and gutsy gal, she continued flying even after a crash, and in 1930—flying 196.10 mph—she broke Amelia Earhart’s speed record!

(How come I never read about her in history books?)

Not one to sit around resting on her laurels, she became a stunt pilot in Hollywood  and made plenty of Tinseltown connections.

desertThe Depression, however, resulted in a loss of most of her money. She scraped enough together to buy 180 acres of desert property out in in the boonies of the Mojave desert ( tumbleweeds, cactus, dirt, lizards—think Wiley Coyote)  Her closest neighbor? March Air Force Base.

There she rubbed elbows and threw parties for people like Chuck Yeager, General Jimmy Doolittle, Buzz Aldrin, and the Hollywood A-list crowd.

After a protracted legal battle with the government (never fun) over the price of her land and a suspicious fire, she moved to Cantril.

Unable to stay away from the life she loved, Pancho became a regular visitor at Edwards AFB, soon enjoying the company of her ol’ fly buddies.

Pancho died in 1975, never having made it to her keynote speech at the local Aero Museum reunion event.

This amazing woman is the subject of several books, movies, and documentaries. Courageous. Bodacious. Married 4 times! A force to be reckoned with.

Related Posts: Fabulous Females

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Inventions by Women

It’s Fab Female Friday!

blocksWomen are amazing inventors! Unfortunately  just how many inventions we really are responsible for is lost in history. Why? Because men took the credit. Even in the USA! In fact, women were not permitted to get a patent in their own name until the late 1800’s.

Here are just a few women inventors.

1.Alphabet Blocks>>> Adeline Whitney: Poet and author of 20 children’s books.

crosby2.Brassiere>>>Mary Phelps Jacob: Although bra-like garments go way back in history ( as far back as ancient Rome), 19-yr old Mary  invented the 1st modern version from 2 silk handkerchiefs and a ribbon when the boning of her corset showed through her fancy ball gown.

3. Disposable Diapers>>>After WW2, Marion Donovan sewed up a plastic shower curtain to keep the bed sheets dry from the leaky kiddo. She had no takers for for waterproof diaper cover, until Saks Fifth Avenue debuted it in 1949.  Her next project, designing a totally disposable diaper made from super absorbent paper. Ten years went by before a company saw the genius of her invention. Female power triumphs because Marion went on to obtained 20 patents in her lifetime!

4. Circular Saw>>> Tabitha Babbitt invented the prototype for the circular saw used in saw mills. She never applied for a patent.

5. Medical Syringe>>>Letitia Geer ( Couldn’t find any information about her.)

6. Life raft>>>Maria Beasley received over 15 patents and earned quite a bit of money from them. The biggest money-maker was her barrel making machine; however, it’s the life raft invention for which she is most famous.

7. Fire escape>>>Anna Connelly was the first to design and patent the fire escape.

8. Windshield Wiper>>>Mary Anderson developed this after a trip to snowy New York City.  Wipers became standard equipment by 1916.

9. Dishwasher>>>Josephine Cochrane, bless her heart, decided her servants were breaking too many heirloom china pieces, so she designed an automatic dishwasher with wire compartments and water sprays.  Before long she was manufacturing and selling to hotels and restaurants, and finally homeowners.

10. Square-bottomed paper bag>>> Inventor Margaret Knight was perfecting the machine that would fold and glue a paper bag together when a man who saw the prototype stole her idea.

whiteout11. Liquid Paper/White out>>> Bette Nesmith Graham was prone to typing mistakes, and in those pre-word processor days that mean typing a whole new paper. An artist used to painting over mistakes, she applied the same idea to her typist job.

12. Chocolate Chip cookies>>>Ruth Wakefield stumbled upon this recipe when she added chopped chocolate to cookie dough in the hopes it it would melt to make chocolate cookies. Best cooking mistake ever made. Ever!

13. Home diabetes test:>>>Although Helen Free is known for her invention of this important  diagnostic test, the distinguished chemist invented many other home tests and lab procedures. During her 50-year career, she also managed to author several books, earn an MA in Management, be an adjunct professor, and become an advocate for science outreach programs.

14. Portable hair dryer>>> Harriet Stern

15. Leukemia drug>>>15-yr old Gertrude Belle Elion was inspired to find a cure when her grandfather passed from cancer. Even though she graduated with highest honors from college at only 19 years of age, 15 graduate schools rejected her application because of her gender! She volunteered as a lab assistant until a pharmaceutical company hired her. During the 39 years she worked for that company, she developed the chemotherapy to treat children’s leukemia—it also earned her the Noble Prize.

Related Posts: Amazing Amazons; Julia Domna; Marie Laveau; Boudicca; Cheng I Sao

Fab Female Friday-Mom

Mom shops for presents and wraps the gifts
Some of which, she can barely lift.
Mom buys the ribbons and the bows
Locates the misplaced scissors and tape, she always knows.


To the mall, to the store, and back again
Always careful about what she spends.
Shopping for deals
Cooking the meals
Stashing the gifts
Buying clothes that actually fit.


Baking the cookies, the fudge, and the pies
Removing the spot from off of dad’s tie
Mom roasts turkey, stirs the gravy, glazes the ham,
And decorates the house with Holiday glam.


Mom is Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves combined
A more loving heart, is impossible to find.
So give Mom a break and lend her a hand
Cause, you know she’s your biggest fan.
Merry Christmas, Mom
I love you!