Beulah Henry

Vacuum Ice Cream Freezer
Consumer Devices

Beulah Louise Henry was born in 1887 and was dubbed "Lady Edison" in the 1930s. She earned 49 patents, but her inventions number around 110. Her first patent was granted in 1912 for a vacuum ice cream freezer which was a device to make ice cream that didn't require cranking like earlier manual ice cream makers. Later, Henry invented an umbrella with a set of different-colored snap-on cloth covers (1924). She also invented – literally overnight – the first bobbinless sewing machine (1940).

In 1932, Henry invented the "Protograph" for use in businesses. The device made four typewritten copies of documents at a time without carbon paper.  She also created "continuously-attached envelopes" to aid in mass mailings (1952). For children, Henry invented "Dolly Dips," which were soap-containing sponges (1929) and the "Miss Illusion" doll, a doll whose eyes could change color and close as if in sleep (1935).

Henry attended North Carolina Presbyterian College and Elizabeth College in Charlotte, North Carolina. She later moved to New York City where she belonged to a variety of scientific societies. Henry passed away in February of 1973.