African Americans established a strong history of product and tool invention in the 18th century. In the 19th century, before and after slaveryabolished, black inventors continued to have a major impact in the United States.
Andrew J. Barba
Andrew Jackson Barba(1849–1921) was born into slavery in Alabama and freed at fifteen. invented himselfmill, ARotationsdampfmaschine, and two kinds ofplowsbefore I work for himrailroadin the 1890s.
Railroads connected the busy East Coast of the United States to thefronterawestern states. they transformedCommunicationjtravel. Beard worked for various railroad companies and created his most famous invention, theJenny Kopler. Jenny coupling automatically blocks wagons when they collide with each other. This made it much easier to connect long trains for travel and trade. Before the invention of the jenny coupler, workers had to insert a metal pin to connect the cars when driving together. It was a very dangerous job, and Beard saw and heard from manyterribleAccidents The Jenny coupling was an invention that saved countless railway workers' lives.
Henry Blair (1804–1860) is the first black person to be identified in a US patent application. Blair's identification as Black was an accident, as the US Patent Office did not typically identify patentees by race.
Very little is known about Henry Blair other than that he must have been a free black man. Enslaved peoples were not allowed to own patents. Blair received a patent for a corn planter in 1834. The corn planter combined ploughing, sowing the seeds, and covering the seeds with soil. Blair received a second patent for a cotton seeder in 1836.
Solomon Brown (1829–1906) collaboratedsamuel morseabout himTelegraphMachine that revolutionized communications in the 19th century. Brown installed the cables and made sure the telegraph was working properly.
Brown was also the first African American employed by theSmithsonianInstitute in Washington, DC Brown lectured using his own drawingsEntomology,geology,Philosophy, jReligionfor decades to full houses.
Hugh M. Browne
Hugh Mason Browne (1851–1923) was an educator associated with prominent African Americans such asBooker T. Washington,W.E.B. DuBois, jCharles Chesnutt. Browne was particularly concerned with education and traveled to Liberia to compare the educational system there with that of the United States.
Browne was also a practical man, interested in improving the lives of ordinary people. He invented a machine that caughtseweragewater and prevented him from re-entering a house. This helped residents live healthier lives. Browne received the patent on April 29, 1890.
Jorge Washington Carver
George Washington Carver (1864?–1943) war Farmerchemicalfamous for improving the lives of the poorfarmersthrough new cultivation methods.
For much of the 19th century, farmers in the South planted cotton year after year, leading to thisexhaustedthe ground of lifenutrient. Carver's experiments found the restored peanut plantNitrogentotopsoiland made him well again. Planting peanuts one year and cotton the next extended the useful life of the soil. This seeding process is calledcrop rotation.
Carver's peanut-cotton crop rotation produced peanutsexcess– more peanuts than people needed. Carver found new uses for peanuts and peanut products, including soap, face powder, mayonnaise, shampoo, metal polish, and glue.
Carver later discovered that sweet potatoes and peas have the same nitrogen-fixing ability as peanuts. TherentableCrop rotation allowed farmers to conserve the soilfertility. Carver received two peanut-related patents: one forointmentor cream (Patent No. 1,522,176 January 6, 1925) and one for paint or stain (Patent No. 1,541,478 June 9, 1925).
Shelby Davidson (1868–1931) worked for the United States Postal Service. However, he did not deliver the mail. worked in theauditDepartment that keeps track of numbers and times. Davidson invented a rewind mechanism for adding machines in 1908. The rewind device reduced the amount of paper and timeemployeeSpent workers on paperwork. Davidson also invented an automaticRateDevice in 1911 that allowed postal workers to work more efficiently.
Lewis Latimer (1848-1928) was a memberThomas Edisoninvestigation team and became the leaderCartoonistfor General Electric.
A draftsman is a person who makes drawings of buildings, machines or inventions. These drawings can make or break the patent application. Latimer did the design work forAlexander Graham Bellphone from; Bell received his patent in 1876.
1882 erfand Latimer aMoney Filamentfor use in light bulbs. It took longer and was cheaper than Edison's first draft. Edison's company hired Latimer soon after.
Latimer also designed a bathroom for railway carriages, a.odisinfectand refrigeration equipment, a wardrobe and clothes rack, a closable umbrella and a device for holding books.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger
Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852–1889) invented a machine for connecting the shoe upper to the sole. This process is calledcontinuous. Matzeliger's cement mixer could make 150 to 700 pairs of shoes in a day, compared to 50 pairs made by hand.
George Washington Murray
George Washington Murray (1853–1926) held eight patents related to agriculture. Born a slave, Murray was elected to the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina in 1892.
George Washington Murray is the ancestor of Representative Jim Clyburn, a current member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.
John Parker (1827–1900) owned three of the seventy-seven patents granted to African Americans in 1886. He was just one of fifty-five African Americans granted more than one U.S. patent in 1900. He is best known for patenting a wearable devicePlate crimped screw. It was used to cut tobacco.
Parker was also a "bandleader" in theSubway. From his home in Ripley, Ohio, Parker helped more than a thousand enslaved people gain their freedom.
Norbert Rillieux (1806–1894) was oneKreolischInventors from New Orleans. He studied in Paris, France before returning to the United States.
Rillieux's father owned a large onePlantation, where sugar was often grown. Rillieux invented the multiple effectvacuum evaporatorto refine sugar. His invention produced a whiter, longerrefinedsugar with less work. The Rillieux refining process was eventually extended to all evaporation processes, includingcondensed milk,Gelee, soap, glue etcWhiskey.
Samuel Scottron (1843–1905) invented an adjustable mirror so hairdressers could view their haircut from all angles.
From the barber shop, Scottron branched out into inventions for the home. He invented the adjustable window.Cornice, a pole tip, a curtain rod and a bracketMiddle. (A cornice is an attractive window overhang used to hide the curtain rod.) Scottron was the first African American to be a member of the Brooklyn, New York.Board of Educationand was a co-founder of the Cuban Anti-Slavery Society.
Lewis Temple (1800–1854) redesigned aHarpoon, a whaling device, in 1845. His invention, called the "iron of the temple," hooked the whale to the line like a fish to a hook. His invention led to more whales being caught and killed. In the 19th century, New England was the center of the whaling industry. "Temple's Iron" helped create a thriving economic community in places like New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Sarah Breedlove Walker (1867–1919), akaFrau CJ Walker, is probably the most famous African American inventor.
Walker invented the hot comb and a pomade to make hair soft and shiny. In front of the hot comb, African Americans straightened their hair on ironing boards. Many people had burns on their faces andscalp, as well as damaged hair, due to this. Walker revolutionized African Americanscosmetic productsIndustry.
To increase business with her beauty products, Madame C.J. Walker organized saleswomen into "Walker Clubs," a system later copied by Mary Kay Cosmetics. In 1908 she founded Lelia College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to train women to sell her products.
It isMarketingSystem worked very well. Walker became the first African American womanmillionaire. It employed 3,000 people at its Indianapolis, Indiana, factory. Ms. C.J. Walker made generous donations to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other nonprofit groups or charities. She also fundedgrantsfor women to go to college.
Granville T. Woods
Granville T. Woods (1856-1910) was nicknamed "The Black Edison" for the number of inventions he built and patented. Like Edison, Woods' inventions were not focused on a single industry.
Woods received his first patent for a steam boiler in 1884. He also invented a system of railway brakes, electric railway systems, and devices to improve the telephone and telegraph. The telephone and telegraph patents were bought by Alexander Graham Bell's company.
In 1887, Woods invented the multiplex synchronous railway telegraph. It allowed railroad workers to know where the trains were on the railroad. Before that, no one knew exactly when a train was going down the tracks. Woods' invention prevented many collisions and fatalities. Between 1900 and 1907 he registered twenty patents for electronic train control devices.
Inca a carver
Although George Washington Carver found many uses for peanuts, he wasn't the one who invented peanut butter. The ancient Incas of Peru were known for grinding peanuts into a spreadable paste. dr Ambrose Straub patented a machine for making peanut butter in 1903. John Harvey Kellogg sold a nut butter spread in 1890. Mr. Kellogg is best known for another food invention: Kellogg's Corn Flakes.
the real McCoy
Elijah McCoy (1844 -1929) invented a grease cup for trains. Before McCoy, trains had to stop so workers could grease the gears by hand. Otherwise the expensive machines would fail. McCoy's inventions allowed locomotives to be lubricated automatically instead of the old manual method, improving efficiency. He is the man behind the term The Real McCoy.
Articles and Profiles
National organization for the professional advancement of black chemists and chemical engineersUniversity of California at Irvine: Index of African American Inventors