Not Without Us
What would the world be like without African American inventions?
The Folding Bed
Leonard C. Bailey invented and received patents for a series of devices, many designed for military or government use. These included a folding bed, a rapid mail-stamping machine, a device to shunt trains to different tracks, and a hernia truss adopted into wide use by the U.S. military.
Rosenman.ROSENMAN424 at he.wikipedia, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons
The Gold Tee
Dr. George Grant was a founding member and later the president of the Harvard Odontological Society and was a member of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association where he was elected president in 1881. In 1899 he improved on Percy Ellis' "Perfectum" tee, inventing the 'wooden' golf tee.
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The Street Sweeper
Unlike other sweepers at that time (1890s), Charles B. Brooks’ sweeper was the first self-propelled street sweeping truck. His design had revolving brushes attached to the front fender, and the brushes were interchangeable so that when snow fell, scrapers could be attached for snow removal. He received a patent for his invention on March 17, 1896 (US Patent #556,711). A few months later, on May 12, 1896, he patented a dust-proof collection bag for the street sweeper (US Patent #560,154).
Dmitry Ivanov., CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Ironing Board
Sarah Boone (1832–1904) was an American inventor who on April 26, 1892, obtained United States patent number 473,563 for her improvements to the ironing board. Boone's ironing board was designed to improve the quality of ironing sleeves and the bodies of women's garments. The board was very narrow, curved, and made of wood. The shape and structure allowed it to fit a sleeve and it was reversible, so one could iron both sides of the sleeve. Along with Miriam Benjamin, Ellen Eglin, and Sarah Goode, Boone was one of four African American women inventors of her time who developed new technology for the home.
In 1889 the African American inventor, William H. Richardson, patented a new type of baby carriage. His idea was to use a special joint to allow a bassinet to be turned to face the operator. Several changes were made that allowed his carriage for the wheel to turn individually, which meant that the vehicle could turn 360 degrees in a smaller turning radius.
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The Lawn Mower
John Albert Burr patented an improved rotary-blade lawn mower in 1899, with the wheel placement altered for better performance.
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Standard's refrigerator made in 1891 used a manually filled ice chamber for chilling and was granted a patent on June 14, 1891 (U.S. Patent Number 455,891). A few years later, Standard continued working on innovations to improve the home kitchen, and his 1889 oil stove was a space-saving design that he suggested could be used for buffet-style meals on trains. who patented improvements while overcoming racial division in the United States.
Editor-in-Chief Clement Richardson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Folding Chair
Nathaniel Alexander of Lynchburg, Virginia patented a folding chair. According to his patent, Nathaniel Alexander designed his chair to be used in schools, churches, and other auditoriums. His design included a book rest that was usable for the person sitting in the seat behind and was ideal for church or choir use.
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Letter Drop Mailbox
Philip B. Downing (1857-1934) was an American inventor from Newport, Rhode Island, best known for his patent on the modern day letter box.
PookieFugglestein, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons