Beulah Louise Henry (1887 - 1973)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Doug Robinson
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About Beulah Louise Henry

Beulah Louise Henry (February 11, 1887 – 1973) was an American inventor. In the 1930s, she was given the nickname "Lady Edison" for her many inventions.

Her inventions include a bobbin-free sewing machine and a vacuum ice cream freezer. Though she was awarded around 49 patents over her lifetime, she had around 110 inventions total.

Early Life and Education

She was born in North Carolina, the daughter of Walter R. and Beulah Henry. She was the granddaughter of former North Carolina Governor W. W. Holden and a direct descendant of Patrick Henry. From 1909 to 1912 she attended North Carolina Presbyterian College and Elizabeth College in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she submitted her first patents.

Career as Inventor - New York City

She moved to New York City by 1924, where she founded two companies. She worked as an inventor for the Nicholas Machine Works from 1939 to 1955. She also served as a consultant for many companies that manufactured her inventions, including the Mergenthaler Linotype Company and the International Doll Company. She lived in New York hotels, belonged to a variety of scientific societies, and apparently never married.


A partial list of Henry's inventions includes:

vacuum ice cream freezer (1912) US 1037762

umbrella with a variety different colored snap-on cloth covers (1924)

the first bobbinless sewing machine (1940)

"Protograph" - worked with a manual typewriter to make four copies of a document (1932)

"Continuously-attached Envelopes" for mass mailings (1952)

"Dolly Dips" soap-filled sponges for children (1929)

"Miss Illusion" doll with eyes that could change color and close (1935)

Henry was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.

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Beulah Louise Henry ("Lady Edison")'s Timeline

February 11, 1887
Age 85