Photo by Nick de Partee on Unsplash
To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address.
We will email you when we add new stories each month. Thanks!
Note: We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our contact data or lists to third parties.
Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.
Download Photo .jpg
Sometimes it just takes looking at things a little differently in order to solve a problem. Sometimes we don’t even realize there is a problem until we ask questions that begin with why?
We tend to think of inventors as those bespectacled, thick-apron-wearing individuals bending over workbenches all day, tinkering. But inside each of us is a natural curiosity that we can tap into if we just take the time to think. Sometimes we need a change of scenery to arouse our senses. And so it was with Mary Anderson.
Mary was born on an Alabama plantation during Reconstruction, just after the Civil War. Those years of rebuilding a country required strong individuals, and Mary was one of them. She moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and became a real estate developer, then on to Fresno, California, to operate a cattle ranch and vineyard.
In 1903, Mary visited New York City, the bustling metropolis that was fast becoming the center of enterprise. It was winter, and Mary jumped aboard a trolley car. She became slightly annoyed at how often the driver had to stop and clear the windshield on that frosty day. Of course, nobody else had thought to solve the problem. It was just one of those things drivers accepted.
When Mary returned home, she went right to work on a spring-loaded lever with a rubber blade that the driver could operate from inside the trolley car. She patented the device before Henry Ford rolled out his first automobile.
Unfortunately for Mary, she never made any money from her invention. It was deemed too dangerous to operate a hand lever to clean the windshield while driving. But by 1922, after Mary’s patent expired, Cadillac included wipers on all their cars. Driving was more popular, cars got faster and Mary’s invention was exactly what they needed.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Mary Anderson was inducted into the International Inventors Hall of Fame, finally getting the recognition she so rightfully deserved. Meanwhile, although Mary wasn’t financially successful with her invention, she was successful as a real estate developer, rancher and viticulturalist. And she did make the history books for an invention that was years ahead of its time — simply because she wanted to see a little more clearly.
Copyright ©2021 The Foundation for a Better Life. All rights reserved. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License (international): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
The Foundation for a Better Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gives your newspaper permission to publish these stories in print and electronic media (excluding audio and video), provided the stories are published in their entirety, without modification and including the copyright notice. For any modification, permission must first be obtained from the Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
If You Don’t Know Anything About Orangutans, You Don’t Know Jack.
Meet Jack Dalton, Barron Prize Winner and the nature conservationist who started by saving the orangutans at age 8.
The Curse of Texting and Driving.
How one father turned personal tragedy into triumph for thousands of teenagers by creating the Honor Connor Scholarship Fund.
Respecting Your Customers.
As the Great Depression impoverished the country, many families stretched their budgets by making clothes out of flour and seed sacks. What companies did next may surprise you.
Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.
Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.
How a Vietnam vet pulled himself out of drug addiction by going back in the past.
Fix it Yourself.
How one couple moved hundreds of miles from home to run a center for pregnant teenage girls.
For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.
Fortune and fame have allowed the soccer great to take care of his mother after all she has done for him.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.
Let the Music Move You.
Bob Geldof has spent a lifetime seeking harmony in the world.
Courage in a New World.
The story of Stagecoach Mary, the first Black woman to deliver mail in the Wild West.
Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.
How a community in Maine supports those who want to be left alone.
The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.
Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.
Turning Tough News Into Hope.
How 11-year-old Jordan Phillips raised $120,000 to help fund cancer treatment.
Education is for Everyone.
Reading and writing are the basics of an education. See why a 90-year-old Kenyan great-grandmother went back to primary school.
The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.
How one man created a forest the size of Central Park by planting one tree a day.
The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.
Playtime is for Everybody.
A dad sells off his business and builds a theme park for disabled kids.
No Strings Attached.
How a 7-year-old girl brings joy to neighbors with her violin.
A Hero for Accessibility.
How an 8-year-old girl captured the attention of the nation and motivated Congress.
Something Healthy for All of Us
How 17-year-old Barron Prize Winners Annie and Shirley Zhu provide fresh food for 1,400 people a year.
A Custom of Respect.
How the Japanese soccer team brings sportsmanship to the game.
Overcoming Fear Sometimes Requires a Patient Friend.
How a flight attendant took the time to comfort a passenger who was having panic attacks.
The Science of Happiness.
How a high school senior made sure an entire elementary school got Halloween.
Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.
To Stay or Run?
The courageous story of a collegiate wrestler who fought a grizzly bear to save a friend. With thanks to the Cowboy State Daily.
The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.
Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.
A Diamond in the Making.
How an everyday superhero saved the day by taking time to go through the garbage to find a stranger’s wedding ring.
How to Honor Your Mother.
Warrick Dunn played in the NFL for 12 seasons. His most impressive stat: He’s built 200 homes for single mothers. And he’s not done.
The Birth of Superman.
How two awkward teenage boys dreamed up the world’s most popular superhero.
A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.
Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.
It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.
How one girl’s 16 years of life impacts thousands.
No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.
The day Muhammad Ali rushed to save a stranger who was about to take his own life.
The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.
How a men’s rugby team supported one of their own.
Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.
Allie Newman not only survived cancer but also helps hospitals better meet the needs of teenage cancer patients.
For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.
Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.
Free-dive record holder Enzo Maiorca rescues a trapped dolphin, then watches as it gives birth.
Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?
How Kidpreneur Alejandro Buxton is making money for college and helping others.
Listening to the Music Inside.
The long journey of Maria Tallchief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to prima ballerina in New York City.
Give Peace a Chance.
How a Mexican-American Marine negotiated peace speaking Japanese during WWll.
Bigger than Life.
How Premier League superstar Sadio Mané is changing the world beyond soccer.
Using the Write Words
How an African American Woman Wrote her Way to Freedom.
The story behind America’s first and only 10,000-meter Olympic champion.
Laughter is the Best Medicine.
While filming ‘Schindler’s List,’ weekly calls from Robin Williams helped Steven Spielberg ease the weight of directing such a heavy film.
An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.
How one woman turned a life of neglect into a lifetime of taking care of people.
Never Give Up.
Lessons learned from Preston Tucker, creator of one of the most innovative cars in American history.
Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.
Everybody Can Be a Hero.
How window cleaners brightened the day at a children’s hospital.
Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.
The story of a young woman who dreamed of pushing the boundaries and now designs launch systems for NASA.
Teamwork that Saves Lives.
How a high school baseball team lifted a car off one of their classmates pinned underneath.
The History of Us.
How a football coach develops young men by teaching them their own history.
You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.
British WWll veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $45 million for charity at age 100.
Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.
A Most Unlikely Friendship.
How the war in Ukraine brought two families together from opposite sides.
Never, Ever Give Up.
The incredible story of the 12-year-old cancer patient who brings joy to half a million children fighting cancer.
The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.
Going the Distance.
Why top collegiate and professional athlete Dillon Shije will never stop running for his people.
The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.
How one man made sure his retirement years were spent helping kids move safely through life.
How to Land an Airplane Without Landing Gear.
17-year-old Maggie Taraska landed her airplane without landing gear on her way to flying solo cross-country.
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.
The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.
How a group of high school boys practiced the art of inclusion.
How Rick Moranis shrunk his role as an actor to be with his kids.
Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.
Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.
Pam Tully dedicates 6 months a year to rescuing baby flying foxes alongside the volunteers who help her.
Photographs that Changed the World.
How the searing photographs of Walker Evans’ America during the Depression created a national change in attitude toward the poor.
Recognizing the Need.
How a neighbor took a disaffected young man under his wing and taught him how to be a man
Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.
How a wrong number, a wrong text and a mix-up led to long-lasting friendships.
Not Out of the Way, Along the Way.
Taking the long way to school makes for a long friendship.
Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.
How 14-year-old Philo Farnsworth tinkered his way to the technology that broadcast the moon landing.
The Calm in the Storm.
Being that one voice of encouragement in a community makes all the difference.
Finding Our Way.
Using the natural elements around her, Kala Baybayan Tanaka navigates the ocean in a canoe for up to three weeks using nothing but observations of the natural elements around her.
More Than Just Dancing
How inclusion helps overcome mental illness.
When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.
The legacy of Susan La Flesche, the first Native American to earn a medical degree.
Let the Kids Give it a Try
How 17-year-old Dasia Taylor developed sutures that detect infection.
Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.
How health care workers saved the day.
Including Everybody Means Everybody.
How Inclusion Films is making movies using crew with developmental disabilities.
If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.
A German shepherd slept at his owner’s gravesite.
How Far Would you go for a Friend?
The story of Dindim, the penguin who travels 5,000 miles every year to visit with its rescuer.
Click the like button above to access our facebook page, then ‘like us’ to get a dose of positivity in your feed.No thanks