Last Mother’s Day, “06880” gave a shout-out to Marion Donovan.
In 1949, the Westport mother invented the moisture-proof diaper. Two years later, she went a step further, creating the disposable diaper.
It took 10 months, but Trevor Noah finally got around to acknowledging this Mother of Invention.
The other day, the “Daily Show” featured our hometown heroine on “Shafted.” That’s the segment that — to honor Women’s History Month — highlights women who have been (metaphorically) screwed by men.
Figuratively, of course.
In Donovan’s case, it was paper company executives. All men (surprise!), they told her that disposable diapers were “not necessary.”
A decade later, Donovan’s idea finally led to Pampers. They’re credited to Procter & Gamble, and a guy named Victor Mills.
The “Shafted” segment — hosted by the indomitable Desi Lydic and Dulce Sloan — mentions Westport about 50 seconds in.
Men may have dumped all over Marion Donovan. But she went on to earn 20 patents. They include a hanger that holds 30 garments in a tight space; a wire soap holder that drains directly into the basin; an elastic zipper allowing women to zip up the back of a dress by pulling down from the front, and the Dentaloop (it prevents floss users from cutting off circulation in their fingers).
Not all those inventions were made in Westport. At some point she moved to Greenwich — where Donovan, who (of course!) earned an architecture degree from Yale at age 41, designed her own house.
Donovan died in 1998, at 81. In 2015 she was inducted posthumously into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Anyone who has changed a diaper since 1951 owes huge thanks to Marion Donovan.
(Hat tip: Brian Gold)