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Uncommon Knowledge: Who prepared your brown bag lunch?

Your mom may have packed up your lunch-break PB&J, but she couldn’t have done it without the help of Margaret Knight. Living in 19th century America, Knight was something we don’t often hear about in that age: a prolific woman inventor. She designed a kind of window sash, a numbering machine, and even a form of internal combustion engine. When an ironsmith she had hired to build a prototype for one invention tried to steal her patent, she wasn’t afraid to take him to court and reclaim her intellectual property. But Knight’s most lasting innovation can still be seen in grocery stores and school cafeterias. She invented a machine that folded and glued flat-bottomed, brown paper bags.

Upcycled Tent Lunch Bag, $38

Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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