Widowed at the age of twenty-one, left penniless with four children to raise, Martha Coston overcame nineteenth century bias to carry on her deceased husband’s work, patenting and manufacturing history’s first night time signal device. Traveling the world, she then successfully marketed the Coston Night Signal to the navies, coast guardians and railroads of every industrialized nation, founding a company that flourished for more than a century.
In her lifetime, Martha Coston became close friends with Admiral David Farragut, was introduced to British society in Queen Victoria’s own drawing room, banqueted with Napoleon III at the Palaise de Tuilleries, danced with the King of Sweden at his summer retreat at Rosendal, was feted by the Admiral of the Russian fleet at Kronstadt Island in St. Petersburg, struggled across winter ice floes in Scandinavia and fought fang and claw with the United States Congress for her invention to be recognized.
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Published March 29, 2013