She was often referred to as "Lady Edison" She held 28 patents, 22 of which had something to do with sewing machines. She was born in 1840 to a wealthy family from Maine. When her family lost their fortune her mechanical skills came in handy. She filed her first patent for her most famous zigzag sewing machine in 1873. This zigzag stitch sealed the raw edges of the seam, which made the garment sturdier. Her 1873 zigzagger is now on display at the Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Other remarkable inventions by Blanchard are self-taking needles and a surgical needle.
She died in 1922 at the age of 82.
Photo originally from American Women: Fifteen Hundred Biographies with over 1,400 Portraits. Found online on Wikipedia page: Helen Blanchard.