African American Inventors II | National Geographic Society (2023)

African Americans established a strong history of product and tool invention in the 18th century. During the 19th century, before and after slaveryabolished, Black inventors continued to have a great influence in the United States.

André J. Barba
barba de andrew jackson(1849–1921) was born a slave in Alabama and was freed when he was fifteen. he invented hisflour mill, arotary steam engine, and two kinds ofplowsBefore go to workRailwayin the 1890s.

Railroads connected the busy east coast of the United States with theshouldwestern states turnedCommunicationmito travel🇧🇷 Working for several railway companies, Beard created his most famous invention, thejenny coupler🇧🇷 Jenny coupler automatically locks cars when they collide. 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 start cars as they came together. It was a very dangerous job, and Beard saw and heard of manyhorribleAccidents The Jenny coupler was an invention that saved the lives of countless railroad workers.

henry blair
Henry Blair (1804–1860) is the first black man identified in a US patent application. Blair's identification as black was an accident, as the US Patent Office generally does not identify patent holders by race.

Very little is known about Henry Blair, except that he must have been a free black man. Enslaved peoples were not allowed to occupy ranks. Blair received a patent in 1834 for a corn seeder. The corn planter combined plowing, planting, and covering the seeds with soil. Blair received a second patent for a cotton seed drill in 1836.

solomon brown
Solomon Brown (1829–1906) worked withsamuel morsenoTelegraphmachine, which revolutionized communication in the 19th century. Brown installed the cables and made sure the telegraph was working properly.

Brown was also the first African American to be hired bySmithsonianInstitute in Washington, DC Using his own drawings, Brown lectured onentomology,geology,philosophy, mireligionin crowded houses for several decades.

Hugh M Browne
Hugh Mason Browne (1851–1923) was an educator who worked with prominent African Americans such asBooker T.Washington,W. E. B. DuBois, miCharles Chesnutt🇧🇷 Browne was especially concerned with education and traveled to Liberia to compare the education system there with that of the United States.

Browne was also a practical man, interested in improving the lives of common people. He invented a machine that heldsewerwater and prevented him from returning to a house. This has helped residents live healthier lives. Browne obtained the patent on April 29, 1890.

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Jorge Washington Carver
George Washington Carver (1864?–1943) was a farmerchemicalfamous for improving the lives of the poorfarmersthrough new agricultural methods.

For much of the 19th century, farmers in the South grew cotton year after year, whichsoldor just make vitalnutrients🇧🇷 Carver's experiments found the restored peanut plantnitrogenfor himsolo superficialand restored him to health. Planting peanuts one year and cotton the next increased soil life. This seeding process is calledcrop rotation.

Carver's peanut-cotton crop rotation created the peanutsurplus- more peanuts than people needed. Carver found new uses for peanuts and peanut products, including soap, face powder, mayonnaise, shampoo, metal polish, and glue.

Later, Carver discovered that sweet potatoes and peas had the same nitrogen-fixing ability as peanuts. Eastrentablecrop rotation allowed farmers to maintain soilFertility🇧🇷 Carver received two peanut-related patents: one forointmentor cream (Patent No. 1,522,176 of January 6, 1925) and another for ink or dye (Patent No. 1,541,478 of June 9, 1925).

shelby davidson
Shelby Davidson (1868–1931) worked for the United States Postal Service. However, he did not deliver the mail. he worked inauditdepartment, keeping track of numbers and times. Davidson invented a rewind device for adding machines in 1908. The rewind device reduced the amount of paper and time.clericalExpenses of workers in procedures. Davidson also invented an automatic machinetaxadevice in 1911 that allowed postmen to work more efficiently.

lewis latimer
Lewis Latimer (1848-1928) was a member ofThomas Edisoninvestigation team and became the headdesignerpara General Electric.

A draftsman is a person who draws pictures of buildings, machines, or inventions. These drawings can determine the success or failure of the patent application. Latimer did the draft work forAlejandro Graham BellPhone of; Bell received the patent from him in 1876.

In 1882, Latimer invented aCoal filamentfor use in lamps. It lasted longer and was cheaper than Edison's first design. Edison's company hired Latimer soon after.

Latimer also designed a toilet for railroad cars, adisinfectionand fridge, coat rack and coat rack, umbrellas and lockable bookends.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger
Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852–1889) invented a machine to connect the upper part of the shoe with the sole. This process is calledlasting🇧🇷 Matzeliger's shoe binding machine could make 150 to 700 pairs of shoes in a day, compared to 50 pairs a day bandaged by hand.

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george washington murray
George Washington Murray (1853–1926) held eight patents related to agriculture. Murray, born into slavery, was elected to the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina in 1892.

George Washington Murray is the ancestor of Representative Jim Clyburn, the current member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.

Juan Parker
John Parker (1827–1900) owned three of the seventy-seven patents granted to African Americans in 1886. He was only one of fifty-five African Americans to receive more than one patent in the United States in 1900. He is best known for his patents. a laptoptobacco crimped screw🇧🇷 It was used to cut tobacco.

Parker was also a "bandleader" in theMetro🇧🇷 From his home in Ripley, Ohio, Parker helped free over 1000 enslaved people.

Norberto Rillieux
Norbert Rillieux (1806-1894) fe umCreoleInventor from New Orleans. He studied in Paris, France before returning to the United States.

Rillieux's father owned a largeplantation, where sugar was often grown. Rillieux invented the multiple effectvacuum evaporatorto refine the sugar. His invention produced a whiter, morerefinedsugar with less work. The Rillieux refining process was eventually extended to all evaporation processes, includingCondensed milk,jelly, soap, glue andwhisky.

samuel scottron
Samuel Scottron (1843–1905) invented an adjustable mirror so that barbershop customers could examine their haircuts from all angles.

From the barbershop, Scottron branched out into inventions for the home. He invented the adjustable window.cornice, a pole tip, a curtain rod and a bracketSupport🇧🇷 (A cornice is an attractive window ledge used to hide the curtain rod.) Scottron was the first African American member from Brooklyn, New York,board of educationand was co-founder of the Cuban Anti-Slavery Society.

Lewis Temple
Lewis Temple (1800–1854) redesigned aharpoon, a whaling device, in 1845. Called the "Iron Temple," his invention hooked the whale on the line like a fish on a hook. His invention led to more whales being caught and killed. During 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
Sarah Breedlove Walker (1867–1919), also known asMadame CJ Walker, is probably the most famous African-American female inventor.

(Video) From Dreams to Reality - Documentary on African American Inventors

Walker invented the hot comb and pomade to leave hair soft and shiny. Before the hot comb, African Americans would straighten their hair on ironing boards. Many people had burns on their faces andscalp, as well as damaged hair, because of it. Walker revolutionized African-AmericansCosmetic productsindustry.

To increase business for her beauty products, Madame C. J. Walker organized salespeople 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 plant. Madame C. J. Walker has donated generously to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other non-profit charities or groups. She also financedscholarshipsfor 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's inventions were not focused on a single industry.

Woods won his first patent in 1884 for a steam boiler. He also invented a railway braking system, electric railway systems, and devices to improve the telephone and telegraph. The telephone and telegraph patents were acquired by Alexander Graham Bell's company.

In 1887, Woods invented the multiplexed synchronous railway telegraph. He allowed railway workers to know where the trains were on the railway. Before this, no one knew exactly when a train was coming down the tracks. Woods' invention prevented many collisions and deaths. He filed twenty patents between 1900 and 1907 for electronic train control devices.

done fast

Inca a Carver
for Kellogg
Although George Washington Carver invented many uses for peanuts, he did not invent peanut butter. The ancient Incas of Peru were known to grind peanuts into a paste. physician Ambrose Straub patented a machine to make peanut butter in 1903. John Harvey Kellogg sold nut butter paste in 1890. Kellogg is best known for another food invention, Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

(Video) Biography of Charles R. Drew - African American Inventor

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the real McCoy
Elijah McCoy (1844 -1929) invented a cup of train lubricant. Before McCoy, trains had to stop for workers to manually grease the gears. If they didn't, the expensive machinery would break down. McCoy's inventions made it possible for locomotives to be lubricated automatically instead of the old manual method, improving efficiency. He is the man behind the phrase The Real McCoy.


Who are 5 African American inventors? ›

Alexander Miles, Charles Richard Drew, Marie Van Brittan Brown, Shirley Ann Jackson, and Mark E. Dean. Our world would be very different if not for these 5 African-American inventors and their inventions.

Who is the most famous African American inventor? ›

A botanist, environmentalist, inventor, teacher, celebrity -- George Washington Carver is one of the most well-known African-American inventors of his time.

What are the top 10 black inventions? ›

Top 10 Inventions by Black Inventors
  • Clothes Dryer (1892) – George T. ...
  • Automatic Elevator Doors (1887) – Alexander Miles. ...
  • Folding Chairs (1889) – John Purdy. ...
  • Gas Heating Furnace (1919) – Alice H. ...
  • Golf Tee (1899) – George Grant. ...
  • Modern Toilet (1872) – Thomas Elkins. ...
  • Home Security Systems (1966) – Mary Van Brittan Brown.
3 Feb 2022

What are 3 famous African American? ›

Famous African Americans
  • Benjamin Banneker. Born on November 9, 1731 near Elliott City Maryland, Benjamin was one of America's greatest intellectuals and scientists. ...
  • Dr. Percy Lavon Julian. ...
  • Jesse Owens. ...
  • Fannie Lou Hamer. ...
  • Sojourner Truth. ...
  • Ruby Bridges Hall. ...
  • Thurgood Marshall. ...
  • Booker T.

What is the first invention by an African American? ›

Most historians agree that Thomas L. Jennings is the first African American patent holder in the United States. Jennings invented a way to dry-clean clothes in 1821.

What inventions were invented by blacks? ›

The folding chair, gas mask, traffic signal, automatic elevator doors, potato chips and the Super Soaker childrens's water gun toy were all invented by Black innovators.

Who was the first black woman to invent something? ›

In 1885, Sarah Goode became the first African-American woman to file a patent. Goode was born into slavery; after the Civil War she moved to Chicago. There, she met her husband and the two of them opened a furniture shop.

Who is the greatest African American of all time? ›

Martin Luther King, Jr. No single African American in history is perhaps as famous as Martin Luther King, Jr. A federal holiday on the third Monday each January celebrates his legacy. Entire sections of textbooks are devoted to his civil rights activism in the 1950s and 1960s.

Who was America's first African American scientist? ›

A mathematician and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland. Largely self-taught, Banneker was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science.

What Black inventor has the most successful invention? ›

George Washington Carver

Carver is famous for many inventions including a number of uses for the peanut.

What are 2 famous African American artists? ›

The Most Influential Living African American Artists
  • KJ. Kerry James Marshall. American, b. 1955. ...
  • RJ. Rashid Johnson. American, b. 1977. ...
  • LD. Leonardo Drew. American, b. 1961. ...
  • RN. Rashaad Newsome. American, b. ...
  • HT. Henry Taylor. American, b. ...
  • KW. Kehinde Wiley. American, b. ...
  • SG. Sam Gilliam. American, 1933–2022. ...
  • KW. Kara Walker. American, b.

What black man invented ice cream? ›

Known as “the Father of Ice Cream”, Augustus Jackson was an ice cream innovator and businessman who lived in Philadelphia in the 1800s. After working as a White House chef for twenty years, Jackson returned to his home in Philly and opened a catering business.

Who really invented peanut butter? ›

In 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada patented peanut paste, the finished product from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces. In 1895 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the creator of Kellogg's cereal) patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts.

What did black slaves invent? ›

Slave owners often took credit for their slaves' inventions. In one well-documented case, a black inventor named Ned invented an effective, innovative cotton scraper. His slave master, Oscar Stewart, attempted to patent the invention.

Who is the richest black person in America? ›

Oprah Winfrey, $2.7 billion.

Who is the most powerful black man in America? ›

Elijah Muhammad, by far, was the most powerful black man in America.

Who is a Black American hero? ›

When it comes to pioneers in African American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Muhammad Ali are often mentioned—and rightfully so. But what do you know about other Black history heroes like Claudette Colvin, Alice Coachman, or Shirley Chisholm?

Who was the youngest Black inventor? ›

Lewis Howard Latimer

Who is the most famous Black female inventor? ›

Marian Croak (1955–) With more than 200 patents to her name, Croak invented improvements for online voice and data systems and paved the way for videoconferencing.

What African American invented the toilet? ›

Imagine a world without this invention! On December 19, 1899, J.B. Rhodes invented the water closet. Today, it is commonly known as the toilet or commode.

Who is the first black millionaire? ›

Madam C.J.

Walker (1867-1919), who started life as a Louisiana sharecropper born to formerly enslaved parents in 1867, is usually cited as the first Black millionaire.

Who was the first black millionaire woman? ›

Born in 19th century rural Louisiana to former slaves, Sarah Breedlove rose to become the first female African-American self-made millionaire in the United States. Known as Madam C.J. Walker, she developed a line of beauty care products for black women.

Who was the first black woman to make a billion dollars? ›

She is founder and chief executive officer of The ActOne Group, the largest privately held, minority-woman-owned personnel company founded in the U.S. Howroyd is the first African-American woman to build and own a billion dollar company.
Janice Bryant Howroyd
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Who is the oldest African American alive? ›

Susannah Mushatt Jones
BornSusannah MushattJuly 6, 1899 Lowndes County, Alabama, U.S.
DiedMay 12, 2016 (aged 116 years, 311 days) Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Known forOldest living person (June 17, 2015 – May 12, 2016)
3 more rows

Who is the most famous African scientists? ›

Black scientists such as George Washington Carver, Mae C. Jemison and Neil deGrasse Tyson are widely known, while others — such as engineer Otis Boykin — are less famous, but equally made an impact. Discover the struggles and triumphs of these and other African American innovators.

Who was the first Black female scientist? ›

Biochemist. Dr. Marie Daly was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in chemistry in the United States. After she earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Queens College in 1942, Daly completed her master's degree at New York University in only one year.

How many inventions did African Americans make? ›

With 50,000 total patents, Black people accounted for more inventions during this period than immigrants from every country except England and Germany.

Which African American inventor received numerous patents? ›

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office in Detroit bears the name of Elijah McCoy, a pioneering African-American inventor. McCoy was born in the mid-1840s, nearly 170 years before the office opened. McCoy had more than 50 patents to his name. He's best known for inventing an automatic lubricator that was used on trains.

Who was the first woman to invent something? ›

Mary Kies broke that pattern on May 5, 1809. She became the first woman to receive a U.S. patent for her method of weaving straw with silk. With her new method, Kies could make and sell beautiful hats such as this one, and, by law, no one else could sell hats just like hers. That's how a patent works.

Who was the first Black artist? ›

Henry Ossawa Tanner

Who is a well known African artist? ›

William Kentridge

Arguably the most important African artist up to this day, William Kentridge is one of the most important contemporary painters and opens our article in true style. Born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the iconic artist continues to work and reside in Johannesburg.

Who are the top 3 artist? ›

Popularity rankingArtistFans tracking
01DrakeFans tracking: 4,771,578
02RihannaFans tracking: 4,759,699
03ColdplayFans tracking: 4,711,248
04EminemFans tracking: 4,672,952
94 more rows

Did a black man invented rock and roll? ›

Yes, Chuck Berry Invented Rock 'n' Roll — and Singer-Songwriters. Oh, Teenagers Too. The American legend, who died March 18 at age 90, endured racism even as he seemed to transcend skin color and struggled to enjoy his genius even as he enshrined fun in pop music. And, oh yeah — he…

Who invented potato chips black man? ›

Take a look: The Potato Chip Was Invented by a Black Man Named George Crum.

Who came up with Superman ice cream? ›

It's named after the famous superhero who wears those three colors on his suit. Stroh's Ice Cream, a Detroit ice cream plant that closed in 2007, is widely credited with inventing the funky flavor. Their version of Superman was made with blue moon, red pop and lemon flavors.

What country eats the most peanut butter? ›

China is not only the most dominant nation in terms of peanut production, but it is also the most dominant nation in terms of peanut consumption. Additionally, India is the world's second-largest consumer market.

Did George Washington invent anything? ›

George Washington is remembered for his military prowess, strong leadership, and social graces - but George Washington the inventor? Yes, he did that too. He created a sixteen sided threshing barn in 1794, an interesting agricultural innovation created to improve the threshing process.

Did Africans invent peanut butter? ›

There is evidence that ancient South American Incas were the first to grind peanuts to make peanut butter. In the U.S., Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of cereal fame) invented a version of peanut butter in 1895.

Who owned the last slaves? ›

Sylvester Magee
BornMay 29, 1841 (allegedly) North Carolina, U.S
DiedOctober 15, 1971 (supposedly aged 130) Columbia, Mississippi
Known forClaimed to having been the last surviving American slave

Who was the founder of slavery? ›

Beginning in the 16th century, European merchants, starting with Portugal, initiated the transatlantic slave trade, purchasing enslaved Africans from West African kingdoms and transporting them to Europe's colonies in the Americas.

What was the first country to invent slavery? ›

The oldest known slave society was the Mesopotamian and Sumerian civilisations located in the Iran/Iraq region between 6000-2000BCE.

What all did African American inventors? ›

The folding chair, gas mask, traffic signal, automatic elevator doors, potato chips and the Super Soaker childrens's water gun toy were all invented by Black innovators.

What are the 5 most important inventions in human history? ›

Here are our top picks for the most important inventions of all time, along with the science behind the invention and how they came about.
  • The compass. ...
  • The printing press. ...
  • The internal combustion engine. ...
  • The telephone. ...
  • The light bulb. ...
  • Penicillin. ...
  • Contraceptives. ...
  • The Internet. (Image credit: Creative Commons | The Opte Project)
22 Dec 2021

What is the newest invention 2022? ›

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket were named 2022 TIME Inventions of the Year. NASA led the international Webb partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

What is the number 1 invention? ›

The Greatest Inventions In The Past 1000 Years
1Printing Pressallowed literacy to greatly expand
2Electric Lightpowered countless social changes
3Automobileincreased personal mobility and freedom
4Telephonespread communication across wide areas
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What is the greatest invention of 2022? ›

ViraWarn, a COVID-19 detector and warning system for your personal space, is one of the most outstanding inventions of 2022.

Why are Black inventors important? ›

Black innovators changed the way we live through their contributions, from the traffic light to the ironing board. Most people have heard about famous inventions like the light bulb, the cotton gin and the iPhone. But there are countless other, often overlooked inventions that make our daily lives easier.

What African American inventor had over 300 inventions? ›

Many people have read the story of how George Washington Carver invented over 300 products made from peanuts: flour, paste, insulation, paper, wall board, wood stains, soap, shaving cream and skin lotion.

What is the oldest human invention? ›

The hand axe

Perhaps the oldest ever human invention is the hand axe, the oldest examples of which date back 2.6 million years, found in Ethiopia.

What 5 inventions will drastically change the world? ›

These 10 innovations have the potential to shape our future.
  • Emotional Artificial Intelligence.
  • Self driving cars.
  • New mobility innovations such as hyperfast trains.
  • Smart Homes.
  • Gene predictions.
  • Microchips and Human Augmentation.
  • Nanorobotics.
  • Robotics.
6 Jan 2021

What are the four best invention in the world? ›

They are the compass, gunpowder, papermaking and printing. China held the world's leading position in many fields in the study of nature from the 1st century BC to the 15th century AD, with the four great inventions having the greatest global significance.


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