"The author of this proverb is unknown. Plato's Republic says "our need will be the real creator", which Jowett's 1894 translation rendered loosely as "The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention."
The connection of mother and necessity is documented in Latin and in English in the 16th century: William Horman quoted the Latin phrase Mater artium necessitas ("The mother of invention is necessity") in 1519;[page needed] Roger Ascham said "Necessitie, the inventour of all goodnesse" in 1545.[page needed]
In 1608, George Chapman, in his two-part play The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron, used a very similar phrase: "The great Mother / Of all productions, grave Necessity." And the exact phrase is used by Richard Franck in 1658.
The phrase was also used in medieval French. It is found in a collection of proverbs dating to 1485-1490, and is included with another saying, "Hunger makes people resourceful," and an illustration of one man eating a carrot and another man eating grass. "