timeline

born 1917

A true "mother of invention," Marion Donovan was an ingenious and resourceful home innovator. She's best known for anticipating what would become a multi-billion-dollar industry when she designed the first dampless and disposable diapers as solutions to her own parental woes.  

Throughout her life, she transformed her own household into a laboratory + factory, dreaming up practical, time-saving inventions that offered answers to everyday problems. Marion was never satisfied with status quo, refusing to settle for "the way things are." When male manufacturers rejected her brainchildren, she responded by going into business herself. And, very much proved ~ there's a market for goods designed by women for women!

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Marion Donovan (7)

"waterproof cover for diapers...REVOLUTIONARY! NEW!"

Advertisement for the "Boater" | 1951

"I went to all the big names that you can think of, and they said: ‘We don’t need it. No woman has asked us for that. We don't need it at all,' and: 'They’re very happy; they buy all of our baby pants, and we have a very good sale.’ So, I went into manufacturing myself."

Inventors and Inventions on Not For Women Only with Barbara Walters | 1975

"What do I think will help a lot of people and most certainly will help me?"

Papers Illustrate Woman Inventor's Life and Work | 1975

"And actually - we couldn't say it, but - it did cure diaper rash, and many doctors recommended it."

Inventors and Inventions on Not For Women Only with Barbara Walters | 1975

"I invented this—may I show it to you?"

Inventors and Inventions on Not For Women Only with Barbara Walters | 1975

"I started very small...I had a lingerie manufacturer do it for me."

Inventors and Inventions on Not For Women Only | 1975

"I always wanted to be an architect. I’m fascinated by structure."

Personalized Questionnaire Responses | 1994
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Marion Donovan

curated with care by Alicia Williamson {october 2014}