Skip to comments.African American Inventors
Posted on 02/10/2004 6:34:39 AM PST by Arpege92
NORBERT RILLIEUX (1806-1894) The son of a freed slave, American chemist and inventor Norbert Rillieux revolutionized the sugar industry by inventing a device to remove the water from the juices or sugarcane and sugar beets to produce dry sugar. This invention enabled a purer sugar product, cost less money, and was far less dangerous to workers than previous methods.
ELIJAH MCCOY (1844-1929) This American inventor is best known for inventing ingenious devices to lubricate heavy machiner automatically. His devices were so reliable that people often asked if machinery contained "the real McCoy," likely giving rise to this enduring expression.
LEWIS HOWARD LATIMER (1848-1928) Although he received seven patents for his inventions, mechanical draftsman and inventor Lewis Latimer is best remembered for his key contributions to the incandescent light bulb. In 1881 he patented an electric lamp with an inexpensive carbon filament and a threaded wooden socket. He later joined Thomas Alva Edison's team of inventors and wrote the first known book on electric lighting.
JAN E MATZELIGER (1852-1889) As an American artist and inventor Jan E Matzeliger is most famous for designing and creating a machine that stretched leather shoe uppers around a foot shaped model, or last. Before introducing his machine, highly skilled artisans lasted a maximum of 50 pairs of shoes a day. His automaitc shoe lasting machine revolutionized the shoemaking industry, producing as many as 700 pairs of shoes in a single day.
GRANVILLE T. WOODS (1856-1910) Forced to quit school when he was only ten years old, American railroad engineer and inventor Granville T Woods patented a remarkable 35 electrical and mechanical devices during his prolific career. Woods received his first patent in 1884 for a steam boiler furnace. His many later patents included a system that enabled telegraph lines to carry voice signals; an induction telegraph for sending messages to and from moving trains; and electromechanical and electromagnetic railway brakes.
SARAH WALKER (1857-1919) Sarah Walker created a line of hair-care products especially for black women. The daughter of Louisiana sharecroppers and nicknamed "Madame C.J.," was the first woman to sell products via mail order and to organize a nationwide membership of door-to-door agents. Madame C.J. is best remembered as one of the first American women of any race to become a millionaire through her own efforts.
GARRETT A. MORGAN (1877-1963) The son of former slaves, businessman and inventor Garrett A. Morgan patented the first traffic signal in 1923. Morgan made national news when he used another of his inventions -- the gas mask --to rescue several men trapped in a tunnel beneath Lake Erie. Morgan's mask was soon adopted by firemen around the world, and was also refined for use by the United States Army during World War I.
FREDERICK MCKINLEY JONES (1893-1961) This World War I veteran is most remembered for introducing the first practical refridgeration system for trucks and railroad cars, a system that completely changed the food transport industry. Jones was responsible for a phenomenal 60 patents during his lifetime, 40 for refridgeration equipment alone.
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER (1864-1943) Born on a Missouri farm to slave parents, George Washington Carver developed several hundred industrial uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, and developed a new type of cotton knows as Carver's hybrid. Carver is credited with introducing crop rotation to farmers in the southern United States, thereby revolutionizing the American farming industry.
CHARLES RICHARD DREW, M.D. (1904-1950) This American surgeon conducted pioneering work in blood storage and transfusion techniques. Drew showed that blood plasma lasts longer than whole blood, a medical breakthrough that enabled the creation of the modern blood bank. In 1939, Dr. Drew used his new understanding of blood storage and transfusion to help establish the first blood banks to serve the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. He went on to become the first director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank.
Google is your friend. Having said that, I will admit that Banneker's most significant achievements were not inventions. He had many scientific achievements and is a very fine role model.
Benjamin Banneker was a free black man in the late 1700's and early 1800's in Maryland. As a mathemetician and surveyer, he was the first to map out and survey the Washington, DC area. His almanac, "Benjamin Banneker's Almanac," was published during the 1790's and was popular in Maryland, Virginia and points westward, into Kentucky.
If I recall correctly, he spent most of his life in and around Ellicot City, MD, near Baltimore.
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We're talking exclusively BLACK African Americans here, right? White African American inventors are excluded, since this is Black History Month, after-all!
Err, well, like so many things in life, this one is only sort of true. The initial surveying and mapping of the District of Columbia was done by a fellow by the name of Andrew Ellicott, who had been appointed to the task by Washington himself - Banneker was Ellicott's assistant at the time, which is probably where much of the confusion arises.
Sadly, by many blacks today, these people would be viewed as being "too white." They worked within the hated System, made money and "betrayed their race" by succeeding. They probably got no federal money, particpated in no quota system, received no reparations for what happened in the past...they just went out, got educated, studied and worked hard, and became better than they were by dint of their own achievements.
I weep over the way Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice and others are treated within their own communities. Smart, powerful, hard working...they should be the role models. Instead, we get non-resoning masses singing Hosannas to Jessie Jackson. Sad.
Indeed. But my parents made sure my brother, sister and I knew who they were (I recognized all the names off the bat with the sole exception of McCoy, and the short bio jogged my memory on him), and my wife and I are making just as certain with our young'uns.
These were all great Americans. And we all should be proud of their works.
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