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The Black American Inventions: Facts Unknown

Updated on February 24, 2014
Second African American female patent holder. Sarah E. Goode Folding Cabinet Bed: U.S. Patent 322,177 (July 14, 1885)
Second African American female patent holder. Sarah E. Goode Folding Cabinet Bed: U.S. Patent 322,177 (July 14, 1885)

Did You Know....

Inventions in American history have all been accredited to such inventors as; Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell, however there has been little to no recognition for the black inventors and inventions in which they created and improved or contributed on others inventions, some of which produced the most important inventions in history.

Majority of blacks were denied formal education, and there were many laws passed in the South prohibiting literacy to blacks/slaves, even free blacks in the century before and after the Civil War were limited in their access to quality education and vocational training.

The limited education meant that, most blacks were locked out of professional occupations and were somewhat confined to working in industries deemed acceptable for black people, mainly domestic services, manual trades, and agriculture occupations. Nevertheless a small number of exceptionally talented blacks were able to obtain an education and, despite constraints, a significant number of successful black inventors whose inventions proved important emerged. Black Americans, were not allowed to apply or obtain patients for their inventions until the late 1800's, and there were many free Black inventors who legally were able to receive patents, most did not, some feared that recognition and most likely the prejudice. However; one Black American Judy W. Reed was not able to write her name, but she patented a hand-operated machine for kneading and rolling dough. She is probably the first African-American woman to obtain a patent. Sarah E. Goode became the second African-American woman to receive a patent.

Even in today's society, when you say "did you know that a black man invented the"....a puzzled look will come across the face of whom you were speaking to, be it in our institutions of higher learning or the average person on the streets, because again; most people assume that the inventor of such devices as the telephone, ink pens, the potato chip and even today's fun child and adult toy; the Super Soak-er. were invented by a white American or European inventor. however all of these items were in fact inventions of black inventors.

In addition to little known black male inventors, less are known about the many black women inventors in history and in present day, who invented some of our basically used necessities today. Black inventors have made great contributions in the medical, scientific and architectural advancement of America.

These inventors have contributed to the war effort through the invention of the gas mask, the improvement of lighting our homes, taking care of our children and ourselves through numerous inventions. Where some of the invention ranged from major accomplishments to small inventions, that the average person takes for granted, it is an important feat for blacks; many of the inventions ranged from medical/scientific inventions such as Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who in 1893, performed the first successful closure of a wound of the heart and pericardium, (open heart surgery), Dr. Richard Drew, who became know as the Blood Bank Inventor, he revolutionized the separating and storing plasma and transfusion methods to Inventors,such as Kenneth J. Dunkley, the inventor of 3-D glasses and holographic images, and inventor and patent holder Frederick McKinley Jones, who in 1935 designed a portable air-cooling unit for trucks, an automatic refrigeration/freezer system for long haul trucks and railroad cars. which are now the most used and important transportation methods for carrying perishable food.

To not give acclamation's to our many black women inventors would be slicing a piece out of history, because of such women inventors as; Alice H. Parker, who was issued the patent for a heating furnace. The invention provided a mechanism for regulating heat to be carried to different rooms of a building, Dr. Patricia Bath, M.D.developed a laser apparatus for surgery of cataracts lenses and the method and apparatus for ablating and removal of cataracts from the eyes, Mrs. Bath was the first Black American to receive a patent in the medical field. Major contributions to today's world of medicine and daily comforts and necessities of living, these women keep great company with the great inventor and entrepreneur, Madam CJ Walker who is well know for in 1905 inventing a method to soften and smooth African-American hair and was the first Black Millionaire.

Sharing and the enlightenment of Black History Inventions and their inventors, who have and continue to leave their contributions to america and our history, the inventions created, have saved lives, enhanced lives and and again paved the road to many others being able to contribute to the world. Little known facts about what Black Americans have invented but also about the inventors themselves has too long gone covered. Shed the light and give the knowledge and credit.....

"This is Truly Black History"

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Traffic light invented by Garrett Morgan 1923Chamber commode invented by T. Elkins 1897Electric lampbulb invented by Lewis Latimer 1882Patricia Bath developed a laser device to remove cataractsGarrett Morgan 1914  invented a device called the Morgan safety hood and smoke protector, now called the gas mask.
Traffic light invented by Garrett Morgan 1923
Traffic light invented by Garrett Morgan 1923
Chamber commode invented by T. Elkins 1897
Chamber commode invented by T. Elkins 1897
Electric lampbulb invented by Lewis Latimer 1882
Electric lampbulb invented by Lewis Latimer 1882
Patricia Bath developed a laser device to remove cataracts
Patricia Bath developed a laser device to remove cataracts
Garrett Morgan 1914  invented a device called the Morgan safety hood and smoke protector, now called the gas mask.
Garrett Morgan 1914 invented a device called the Morgan safety hood and smoke protector, now called the gas mask.

Trip Through History

Black Inventions

Fire Escape Ladder
Peanut Butter
Fire Extinguisher
Record player arm
Hair Brush
Straightening Comb
Pencil Sharpener
The Horse Shoe
Lawn Mower
Mail Box:
TheTraffic Light
Lawn Sprinkler:
Ironing Board
Gas Mask
Golf Tee

African American Inventors

  • George Speck Crum-1853 The Saratoga Chip ( The Potato Chip)
  • Bessie Blount-1951 portable receptacle support:electrical device allowed a tube to deliver one mouthful of food at a time to patient who were paralyzed or amputees who could not feed themselves.
  • Marie Van Brittan Brown- 1966-invented closed circuit television security system.
  • Dr. Shirley Jackson-developed the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cell, and the fiber optic cables
  • Lewis Latimer-In 1868 Created The carbon filament lightbulb; carbon filaments lasted longer and were more useful than the paper filaments originally invented by Thomas Edison. Also obtained the patents for placing toilets on railroad cars
  • Edward West- Invented The Microphones
  • Lydia O. Newman-1898 received patent for the hair brush.

George Crum and the Saratoga Chip -Invented The World Favorite Snack The Potato Chip
George Crum and the Saratoga Chip -Invented The World Favorite Snack The Potato Chip


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    • profile image

      Kimberly B. 

      6 months ago

      This photo is of Sarah Goode Marshall. She is a white woman from England. Google her name

    • profile image

      Lynn C 

      18 months ago

      You are posting "my" copyrighted photo of "white" Sarah Goode. She is my grandmother born in 1820 and is definitely not "black". Remove the photo or I will pursue further action.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      You have a pic of the wrong Sarah Good/Goode. Your pic is of a white mormon pioneer not the first black woman inventor.

    • KrisL profile image


      4 years ago from S. Florida

      This is great. I found this in the Hopper, and enjoyed it, marking "up" and "interesting."

      Here's a minor edit you'll probably want, though. You write: "Sarah E. Goode became the second African-American woman to receive a patent," but your photo caption says she was the first.


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