Edith Clarke

A brief biography of Edith Clarke, as told by USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee.


Edith Clarke was a pioneering electrical engineer at the turn of the 20th century.

She worked as a “computer,” someone who performed difficult mathematical calculations before our modern-day computers and calculators were invented. Clarke struggled to find work as a female engineer instead of the ‘usual’ jobs allowed for women of her time, but she became first professionally employed female electrical engineer in the United States in 1922. She paved the way for women in STEM and engineering and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015.