Women Inventors and Innovators

With another NAMM Show in the books, many of us now have a fire lit under our feet to continue innovating and pushing the limits in the music products industry. It seems apt that the close of the show springboards us into February, which coincides with National Women’s Inventors Month. This provides a wonderful opportunity to recognize some of the women who have made an impact in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields which are the driving forces in invention and innovation. NAMM and its Oral History Collection are fortunate enough to have documented many stories of female-led innovation throughout its tenure, three of which are featured in honor of National Women’s Inventors Month.

A few surprising highlights include a “runaway” Lita Ford. Lita who is known for his punk rock band, The Runaways, wanted desperately to have an electric guitar and after saving up to purchase her own she discovered she lacked the amplifier to play it through. Lita managed to re-engineer her dad’s reel-to-reel machine to get the sound from her guitar that she wanted!

Another powerful female inventor is Laurie Spiegel, who created her own cutting-edge software for creating music and visual art including the prolific program, Music Mouse. As a pioneer of utilizing computers to create music, Laurie paved the way for Electronic Instrument Composition. Laurie's full interview is available here.

Former D’Andrea Vice President, Rosemary D’Andrea, was working in and around the Long Island area in a series of art galleries when she was recruited by her husband, Tony, to design guitar picks and create marketing materials. After seeing her potential, D’Andrea used her eye for art and design to conceptualize a line of colorful and glow in the dark picks to add to the companies growing catalog. The legacy of D’Andrea’s innovative designs can still be felt in D’Andrea’s products.

While these are just a few powerful stories of the inventions and innovations of women in the Collection, please feel free to check out other notable stories including Charlie Argall Music Owner, Rebecca Brill-Argall; Daisy Rock Guitars Founder, Tish Ciravolo and musician and instrument designer for the G. LeBlanc Corporation, K. Ethel Merker.


Dan Del Fiorentino
Music Historian