Rarely Known Inventions by African American Inventors
Mark Dean created a microcomputer system with bus control means for peripheral processing devices. This invention allows the use of computer plug-ins like disk drives, speakers, scanners, etc.
George Carruthers invented the far ultraviolet electrographic camera, used in the 1972 Apollo 16 mission. This invention revealed new features in Earth’s far-outer atmosphere and deep-space objects from the perspective of the lunar surface. Carruthers was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2003.
David Crosthwait, Jr., a mechanical engineer, created the heating systems for the Rockefeller Center and New York’s Radio City Music Hall. He holds 39 U.S. patents and 80 international patents pertaining to heating, refrigeration and temperature regulating systems.
Otis Boykin invented electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers, and his most famous invention was the control unit for a heart pacemaker. Ironically, Boykin died in Chicago in 1982 as a result of heart failure. Upon his death, he had 26 patents to his name.
James West’s research in sound technology led to the development of foil-electret transducers used in 90 percent of all microphones built today and in most new telephones being manufactured. West holds 47 U.S. and more than 200 foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil-electrets. He was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Lonnie G. Johnson, an engineer who performed spacecraft system design for NASA, invented the Super Soaker water gun—the number one selling toy in America in 1991.
Alexander Miles of Duluth patented an electric elevator in 1887 with automatic doors that would close off the shaft way, thus making elevators safer.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger invented the Shoe Lasting machine, which connected the upper part of the shoe to the sole, a painstaking process that was usually done by hand. This invention revolutionized the shoe making industry.
Elijah McCoy invented an automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines in 1872. The term “The Real McCoy” is believed to be a reference about the reliability of Elijah McCoy’s invention.
Granville Woods (1856 – 1910) invented numerous devices relating to the railroad including a system of overhead electric conducting lines, air brakes and a telegraph system that allowed communication between moving trains.
Frederick Jones held over 60 patents, with most of them pertaining to refrigeration. His portable air conditioner was used in World War II to preserve medicine and blood serum.
Lewis Latimer invented the process for making carbon filament revolutionized Edison’s light bulbs which would only burn for a few minutes. Latimer’s filament burned for several hours.
Garrett Augustus Morgan created the gas mask—then became renowned for using his mask to save workers trapped in a toxic fume-filled tunnel. Also, among many other things, he invented the three-way automatic stop sign, which he sold to General Electric. It was used in the U.S. until the three-light traffic sign was developed.
Andrew Jackson Beard invented the “Jenny Coupler” in 1897, a device which allowed train cars to hook themselves together when they are bumped into one another. The device saved the lives of many railroad workers, who originally had the dangerous job of hooking the moving cars together by hand.
Henry Blair, the second African-American to receive a patent, invented a corn seed planter in 1834 and a cotton planter in 1836. Blair could not read or write and signed his patent with an X.
C.B. Brooks invented the street sweeper in 1896. It was a truck equipped with brooms.
Nathaniel Alexander was the first to patent the folding chair. His invention was designed to be used in schools, churches and at large social gatherings.
Henry Brown created what is now known as a “strongbox”, a metal container to store money and important papers that could be locked with a key.
Dr. George Franklin Grant received a patent for the world’s first golf tee in 1899. Grant, however, never marketed his invention, instead giving the tees away to friends and fellow golfers.
Alfred Cralle patented the first ice cream scoop in 1897. His original design remains in wide use, even today.
Charles R. Drew, medical surgeon, is often credited with the invention of the first large-scale blood bank.
John Love invented the pencil sharpener in 1897.
L.P. Ray invented the dustpan in 1897.
Joseph Lee invented a bread-making machine that mixed the ingredients and kneaded the dough in 1895.
George T. Sampson invented a clothes dryer that used heat from a stove in 1892.
Sarah E. Goode invented a bed that folded up into a cabinet in 1885. Contrary to popular belief, she was not the first African-American woman to receive a patent, but the second.
Joseph Winters invented a fire escape ladder in 1878.
Thomas J. Martin patented a fire extinguisher in 1872.
Lewis Temple (1800 – 1854) revolutionized the whaling industry with his invention of the toggle harpoon in 1848.
Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent in 1821. It was for a dry-cleaning process in 1821. He used the money earned from the patent to purchase relatives out of slavery and support abolitionist causes.
Other Remarkable Contributions:
Radio personalities Hal Jackson and Percy Sutton co-founded the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation (ICBC). They also acquired WLIB, which became the first African-American owned and operated station in New York.
W.E.B. Du Bois established the first sociology department in the U.S.
Dr. Maulana Karenga created the African-American holiday, Kwanzaa, in 1966.
Bridget “Biddy” Mason founded the First African Methodist Episcopalian church in Los Angeles.
For more facts check out Biograghy ” celebrate Black History” at: http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/history/366-facts-inventions.jsp
This lithograph, created by Currier & Ives in 1872, is entitled The First Colored Senator and Representatives, in the 41st and 42nd Congress of the United States.
Senator Hiram R. Revels and Representatives Benjamin S. Turner, Josiah T. Walls, Joseph H. Rainey, Robert Brown Elliot, Robert D. De Large, and Jefferson H. Long.
The Library of Congress provides the following information about the picture and the time frame in which these men served their country in Washington:
“The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave the vote to all male citizens regardless of color or previous condition of servitude. African Americans became involved in the political process not only as voters but also as governmental representatives at the local, state and national level. Although their elections were often contested by whites, and members of the legislative bodies were usually reluctant to receive them, many African American men ably served their country during Reconstruction.”
Race Riots in the US have been consistent since the 60’s. Major outbreaks include but are not limited to the Following:
* New York race riot, 1964, New York City, NY
* Rochester race riot, 1964, Rochester, NY
* Jersey City race riot, 1964, Jersey City, NJ
* Paterson race riot, 1964, Paterson, NJ
* Elizabeth race riot, 1964, Elizabeth, NJ
* Columbia Avenue race riots, 1964, Philadelphia, PA
* Chicago race riot (Dixmoor), 1964, Chicago, IL
* Watts Riot, 1965, Los Angeles, CA
* Hunter’s Point Riot, 1966, San Francisco, CA
* Hough Riots, 1966, Cleveland, OH
* North Omaha riot, 1966, North Omaha, NE
* Fire Hydrant Riots, 1966, Chicago, IL
* Newark riots, 1967, Newark, NJ
* Plainfield riots, 1967, Plainfield, NJ
* Cambridge Riot, 1967, Cambridge, MD
* 12th Street Riot, 1967, Detroit, MI
* Orangeburg riot, 1968, Orangeburg, SC
* Washington DC riots, 1968, Washington, DC
* Baltimore Riot, 1968, Baltimore, MD
* Chicago riot, 1968, Chicago, IL
* Kansas City riot, 1968, Kansas City, MO
* Louisville riots, 1968, Louisville, KY
* Glenville riot, 1968, Cleveland, OH
* York Race Riot, 1969, York, PA
* North 24th Street Riots, 1969, North Omaha, NE
* Augusta Riot, 1970, Augusta, GA
* Asbury Park Riots, 1970, Asbury Park, NJ
* Black Muslim riot, 1971, Baton Rouge, LA
* Livernois-Fenkell riot, 1975, Detroit, MI
* New York City Blackout Riot, 1977, New York City, NY
* Greensboro Riot, 1979, Greensboro, NC
* Chattanooga Riot, 1980, Chattanooga, TN
* Liberty City Riots, 1980, Miami, FL
* Arthur McDuffie, 1980, Miami, FL
* Washington Anti-Klan riot, 1982, Washington, DC
* Overtown Riot, 1982, Miami, FL
* Tampa Riot, 1987, Tampa, FL
* Miami Riot, 1989, Miami, FL
* Tampa Riot, 1989, Tampa, FL
* Mount Pleasant riot, 1991, Washington, DC
* Crown Heights Riot, 1991, Brooklyn, NY
* Rodney King riot, 1992, Los Angeles, CA
* St. Petersburg Riot, 1996, St. Petersburg, FL
* Seattle Mardi Gras Riots, 2001, Seattle, WA
* Cincinnati Riots, 2001, Cincinnati, OH
* Benton Harbor Riot, 2003, Benton Harbor, MI
* Toledo Riot, 2005, Toledo, OH