Masters, Sybilla (d. 1720)

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Masters, Sybilla (d. 1720)

American inventor. Name variations: Sabella or Isabella Masters. Born Sybilla Righton, possibly in Bermuda (date and place unknown); died, possibly in Philadelphia, Aug 23, 1720; dau. of William Righton (mariner, merchant, and plantation owner) and Sarah Righton, both Quakers; m. Thomas Masters (planter and prosperous Quaker merchant), between 1693 and 1696 (died 1723); children: Sarah; Mary (Mercy?); Thomas; William (3 or perhaps 4 others died in infancy).

Was the 1st American inventor to own a patent; journeyed to England and came home with British Patents #401 (1715), for an improved method for grinding corn, and #403, for a new way for weaving, staining, and decorating straw hats (1716), though the patents were issued to her husband on her behalf.

See also Women in World History.