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We Invented History: Black Inventors You May Not Know About (2559 hits)


When we think about famous inventors, we immediately think about Thomas Edison and the light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone, and the Wright Brothers and the airplane. Unfortunately, Black inventors and their contributions are not as nearly celebrated and discussed as they should be. So in honor of Black History Month, we are shining a light on just a few Black inventors whose creations still impact our lives today.

Sarah Boone improved the Ironing Board (1892):
Sarah Boone was born enslaved and went on to become the first Black woman in U.S. history to receive a patent for her improvements made to the original ironing board patented in 1858. Boone’s contributions included a narrow and curved design, which was a change from the original horizontal and rectangular design.


Garrett Morgan invented the Three-Light Traffic Light (1923):
Even though he only had an elementary school education, Garrett Morgan invented the improved sewing machine, the gas mask, and the Three-Light Traffic Light.


Mary Van Brittan Brown Co-Invented the Home Security System (1966):
Nurse Mary Van Brittan Brown, motivated by the increase in crime in Queens and the amount of time it would take for police officers to come to her neighborhood, created a camera security system that could look through the peepholes on her door so she could monitor who came to her home. Her invention built upon an early security system. She later added features that enabled her to speak to whoever was at her door, lock and unlock the door, and even call the police.


Frederick McKinley Jones Invented Refrigerated Trucks (1940):
Frederick McKinley Jones took out a patent for more than 60 inventions throughout his life, including one for 1940 invention of a roof-mounted cooling system. This invention led to him co-founding the U.S. Thermo Control Company, later known as Thermo King.


What other Black inventors are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments!
Posted By: Kennedy Williams
Thursday, February 11th 2021 at 6:01PM
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