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Inventors and Inventions
Margaret E. Knight



Margaret E. Knight
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.11

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    senseless, partnership, looms, teens, tested, porcelain, death, maintain, pursue, income, founded, businessman, properly, sash, court, health
     content words:    Margaret E., Columbia Paper Bag Company, Charles Annan, Eastern Paper Bag Company, Margaret Knight, Smithsonian Institution


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Margaret E. Knight
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     Some people think that only adults can invent things. History shows us that many children have been inventors. Many of them go on to be inventors their whole lives. One such child was Margaret E. Knight. Some people didn't think that a girl could make it as an inventor, but she proved them all wrong.
 
2     Margaret-- or Mattie, as she was called by her brothers-- was born February 14, 1838 in York, Maine. She didn't like to play with dolls as other girls did. She said, "I couldn't see the sense in coddling bits of porcelain with senseless faces. I was fascinated with jackknives, wood, and tools." Mattie liked to make things with her hands. She would make sleds for her brothers in the winter, and kites to fly in the summer.
 
3     Mattie's father died when she was just ten years old, and her older brothers went to work in the nearby cotton mill. She would go every day to take them some lunch. By the time she was twelve, she had begun working long, thirteen hour days, too. They needed the money to make ends meet and keep their family together.
 
4     One day, there was an accident at the mill. One of the looms stopped working right, and a boy was stabbed by a steel tipped shuttle. He later died. Over the years, many men had tried to make the looms safer, but no one could make an idea work. Mattie made up her mind that she would solve the problem.
 
5     She spent hours making drawings and models until she came up with a design that worked. She was only twelve when her motion safety device proved that it could save lives. Soon it was made part of all the looms. Mattie never got paid for her idea, but she said it was more important to save lives.

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