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Date archive for: February 2015

Celebrate Black History Month: Early Innovations

Posted in In and Around the Library

Inventor Charles S.L. Baker (left) and unidentified man. Photo credit: Library of Congress.
Inventor Charles S.L. Baker (left) and unidentified man.
Photo credit: Library of Congress.

Black inventors were not always credited for their work, however, in 1913, an assistant examiner at the United States Patent Office did publish a list of black inventors.

 Miriam Benjamin:  Gong and Signal Chair
Miriam Benjamin:
Gong and Signal Chair

A few other of the many Black innovators are listed below:

1798 – James Forten, Sr. – Sail Handling device.

1821 – Thomas L. Jennings – Dry-Cleaning process (credited with being first
Black to receive a patent).

1843 – Norbert Rillieux – Multiple Evaporation System for the production of sugar.

1883 – Humpfrey H. Reynolds – Improved Window Ventilator
for railroad cars.

1884 – Granville T. Woods – Improved Telephone Transmitter.
Pre-1890 – Ellen Eglin – clothes wringer.

1916 – Madeline M. Turner – Fruit Press.

Sources (these and many other sources relative to Black hisory are available in the Gordon Library Collection):

Black Firsts by Jessie Carney Smith with Casper L. Jordan & Robert Johns, foreword by Johnneta B. Cole; c. 1994 by Visible Ink Press.
Created Equal: the lives and ideas of Black American Innovators by James Michael Brodie, c.1993 by William Morrow and Company, Inc.