When changing your child's diaper, you probably don't take a moment to thank Marion Donovan, but you should. After the birth of her second child, she was tired of coming into the nursery and finding a soggy diaper and damp sheets due to a leak. So she set out to create a waterproof diaper that didn't cause diaper rash like rubber diaper pants did. She started crafting a more breathable diaper cover out of waterproof shower curtains, moved on to nylon parachute material, and finally settled on creating a waterproof diaper cover out of nylon that could be stuffed with absorbent paper and fastened with snaps rather than safety pins to make it safer. She called it the Boater. But when Marion tried to sell it to manufacturers, she was repeatedly turned down.
Not one to take no for an answer, Marion struck a deal with Saks Fifth Avenue, which began selling the Boater in 1949. Two years later, she patented the invention and began work designing the first truly disposable diaper. She never found a manufacturer willing to make the throwaway diaper — the men at the companies didn't find it necessary. But 10 years later, Proctor and Gamble did introduce an all-in-one disposable diaper.