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The Apron: An Historic Woman's Innovation

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The most effective innovations are based on "need." One of my favorite truisms is Necessity is the mother of invention. And it is interesting that in today's world, women are most often overlooked in the world of innovation. I think that is because women are so creative in dealing with the many little needs that arise in the messy world of relationships and family that they don't think of their achievements as innovations or inventions. They just cope.

One such traditional woman's innovation is the apron. I was sent the following story about women's aprons by my sister and it brought up many memories of how our mother, a farm wife made great use of her aprons, and designed many variations to satisfy changing needs. The apron has truly been a changing and powerful innovation for women who ran a household, gardened, fixed and farmed.

I hope this little story brings you good memories...and heightened inspiration to value the innovations of women!

Grandma's apron

The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a holder for removing hot pans from the oven; it was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came those old aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids; and when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling-wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled it carried out the hulls.

In the fall it was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out on the porch and waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields for dinner. It will be a long time before anyone invents something that will replace that old-time apron that served so many purposes.

. . . Author unknown