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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Mary A. (Parks) Ives; First Woman Member of ASAE, 1921

Mary A. (Parks) Ives

First Woman Member of ASAE – 1921
(Material from: Agricultural Engineering, 2(6), June, 1921)

The first woman to be elected to membership in the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and - so far as the editors know - to any engineering society, was Mrs. Mary A. (Parks) Ives, household equipment specialist for the Agricultural Engineering Company; Columbus, Ohio. Mrs. Ives, whose membership is of associate grade, holds a Bachelor's degree in Home Economics from The Ohio State University. Mrs. Ives graduated as part of the class of 1915 as an honors student. Mrs. Ives is the wife of Fredrick W. Ives, former head of the Department of Agricultural Engineering.

Mrs. Ives, in addressing a group of agricultural engineers, said, "I have discovered in working with household equipment that it is designed by men who have but little experience with the processes involved. Washing machines are built from the standpoint of sales talk or manufacturing expediency, rather than from the housewife's standpoint. Clutches and controls are poorly designed and inconveniently located. As with every other new industry, there is a great deal to be learned from the consumer.

"The Society is glad to welcome as a member one who can present not only the preferences and requirement of the housewife but can apply engineering precision in giving due weight to the various considerations involved, and it is reasonable to expect that her work marks the beginning of a more thorough coordination between home and appliance design."