One evening when she was ten years old, Becky Schroeder was doing her homework in the car while her mom finished shopping. As it grew darker, Becky was having trouble seeing her paper. “I didn’t have a flashlight, and I didn’t want to open the door and light up the whole car, “ she said. “So I thought it would be neat to have my paper light up somehow, and that’s how my idea came to me.”
She wondered how to make something glow in the dark, and pulled her glow- in-the- dark Frisbee out of her toy box. She did some investigating, and found that it was phosphorescence that caused the effect.
She started experimenting with phosphorescence paint, spreading it on sheets of paper. She then painted a clipboard, and placed a piece of paper on top of that. With a few modifications, In 1974, her simple invention, which she named ‘ The Glow Sheet,’ enabled her to become the youngest female ever to receive a U.S. patent.
Orders flooded in from all kinds of professionals who needed to work in the dark; doctors who didn’t want to wake patients as they wrote on their charts; photographers who needed to write in the darkroom, critics needing to take notes in darkened theaters; emt’s for use in ambulances…
Several large companies offered to buy Becky’s patent, but Becky and her dad chose to market the Glow Sheet on their own.
Becky’s desire to solve a personal problem and her perseverance in finding a solution are proof positive that you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter your age!