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Sybilla Righton Masters

Sybilla Righton Masters (unknown -1720) of Burlington Township obtained, under her husband’s name, a British patent related to a new method of reducing corn into cornmeal.

Masters proposed a stamping process as opposed to the usual grinding process. As there was no Patent Office in Colonial America, this particular patent was more than likely the first issued to an American colonist. In 1716, one year after she was awarded her first patent, Masters secured another related to a method of working straw for hats and bonnets. She opened a hat shop in London, but soon after returned to Philadelphia.



Waldrup, Carole Chandler. 2004. More Colonial women: 25 pioneers of early America. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/607257372

World Book Inc. 2014. Masters, Sybilla. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/5600411585 

Questions to Explore

How did Masters come up with the stamping process for reducing corn to cornmeal?

What patent did Masters receive for working straw hats and bonnets? What was her process?

Additional Resources

Carey Charles W. 2002. American Inventors Entrepreneurs and Business Visionaries. New York: Facts on File. https://www.worldcat.org/title/47927770