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A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions

These Black and African-American inventors have earned their place in history.

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
1, 2, 3

Many Black inventors struggled through hardship, poverty, and, in some circumstances, slavery. Still, they prevailed and proved their genius to the world. The following are but a few of the many inventive and talented members of the Black community who have greatly contributed to progress in the United States. 

Many of the entries on this list are derived from the work of Henry Baker, who worked for the U.S. Patent Office between the late 1800s and early 1900s. At this time, African-Americans had few rights, so Henry wanted to make sure that a few, at least, received some form of unofficial recognition for their contributions to society. 

This list is long and rather comprehensive. But of course, it's far from exhaustive. 

1. Abrams, W. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Hame Attachment (Date: April 14, 1891, Patent No: 450550)

2. Alcorn, George Edward Jr.

Selected Invention(s):

What their invention or inventions was/were: X-ray spectrometer for distant galaxies and 19 others.

Additional information: Alcorn is best known as the inventor of the Imagining X-Ray Spectrometer. This would ultimately earn him the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Inventor of the Year in 1984.

Alcorn was born in March of 1940 and would later earn his B.A. in Physics in 1962, a Masters in 1963, and Ph.D. in 1967. He would spend a large portion of his career at NASA. Alcorn has around 20 other inventions to his name too.

3. Allen, C. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Self-Leveling Table (Date: November 1, 1898, Patent No: 613436)

4. Allen, J. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Clothes Line Support (Date: December 12, 1895, Patent No: 551105)

5. Ashbourne, A. P.

Selected Invention(s):

- Process for Preparing Coconut for Domestic Use (Date: June 1, 1875, Patent No: 163962)

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- Biscuit Cutter (Date: November 30, 1875, Patent No: 170460)

- Refining Coconut Oil (Date: July 27, 1880, Patent No: 230518)

- Process of Treating Coconut (Date: August 21, 1877, Patent No: 194287)

6. Bailes, Wm.

Selected Invention(s):

- Ladder Scaffold-Support (Date: August 5, 1879, Patent No: 218154)

7. Bailey, L. C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Combined Truss and Bandage (Date: September 25, 1883, Patent No: 285545)

- Folding Bed (Date: July 18, 1899, Patent No: 629286)

Additional information: Bailey was born in 1825 into poverty and was physically disabled. He would go on to receive various patents for his inventions.

Bailey also invented the rapid mail-stamping machine, a device to shunt trains to different tracks, and a hernia truss that was adopted by the United States Military. He died in 1905.

8. Bailiff, C. O.

Selected Invention(s):

- Shampoo Headrest (Date: October 11, 1898, Patent No: 612008)

9. Ballow, W. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Combined Hat rack and Table (Date: March 29, 1898, Patent No: 601422)

10. Banneker, Benjamin

Selected Invention(s): Astronomical Almanac

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11. Barnes, G. A. E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Design for Sign (Date: August 19, 1898, Patent No: 29193)

12. Bashen, Janet

Selected Invention(s):

- Case management and tracking software (Date: January 10, 2006, Patent No: 6,985,922)

13. Bath, Patricia

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: National Library of Medicine/Wikimedia Commons

Selected Invention(s):

- The Cataract Laserphaco Probe (Date: 17th December 1986, Patent No: 4744360)

Additional information: Bath was born in Harlem and would go on to become a pioneering ophthalmologist, inventor, and academic who is known for inventing a tool and procedure for the removal of cataracts using a laser beam, called the Laserphaco Probe.

Bath was born in 1942 in New York and was the daughter of the first African-American motorman to work in the NYC subway. She would show an early interest and ability in science at a young age. This passion would drive her onwards and upwards.

In 1973, Bath became the first African-American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. She was the first woman ophthalmologist to be appointed to the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine Jules Stein Eye Institute and the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the United States.

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14. Beard, A. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Car Coupler (Date: November 23, 1897, Patent No: 594059)

- Rotary Engine (Date: July 5, 1892, Patent No: 478271)

15. Becket, G. E

Selected Invention(s):

- Letter Box (Date: October 4, 1892, Patent No: 483525)

16. Bell, L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Locomotive Smoke Stack (Date: May 23, 1871, Patent No: 115153)

- Dough Kneader (Date: Dec. 10, 1872, Patent No: 133823)

17. Benjamin, L. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Broom Moisteners and Bridles (Date: May 16, 1893, Patent No: 497747)

18. Benjamin, M. E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Gong and Signal Chairs for Hotels (Date: July 17, 1888, Patent No: 386289)

19. Binga, M. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Street Sprinkling Apparatus (Date: July 22, 1879, Patent No: 217843)

20. Blackburn, A. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Railway Signal (Date: January 10, 1888, Patent No: 376362)

- Spring Seat for Chairs (Date: April 3, 1888, Patent No: 380420)

- Cash Carrier (Date: October 23, 1888, Patent No: 391577)

21. Blair, Henry

Selected Invention(s):

- Seed Planter (Date: October 14, 1834, Patent No: X8447)

- Cotton Planter (Date: August 31, 1836, Patent No: 15)

22. Blue, L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Hand Corn Shelling Device (Date: May 20, 1884, Patent No: 298937)

23. Booker, L. F.

Selected Invention(s):

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- Design Rubber Scraping Knife (Date: March 28, 1899, Patent No: 30404)

24. Boone, Sarah

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: SHSMO

Selected Invention(s):

- Ironing Board (Date: April 26, 1892, Patent No: 473653)

Additional information: Sarah Boone was born a slave in 1832 in North Carolina and would go on to develop a special type of ironing board. Her invention was made from a narrow wooden board that had collapsible legs, with the entire device having a padded cover.

Prior to this invention, the most common solution was a simple plank of wood placed across a pair of chairs.

25. Bowman, H. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Making Flags (Date: February 23, 1892, Patent No: 469395)

26. Boykin, Otis

Selected Invention(s):

- Electrical resistor (Date: 21st February 1961, Patent No: 2972726)

Additional information: Otis Boykin was born in Dallas, Texas on August 29, 1920. After his invention of the control unit for pacemakers, he would ironically die from a heart attack in 1982.

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Boykin would graduate from Fisk College, Tennessee in 1941 and later took up work at in 1945 P.J. Nilsen Research Laboratories to fund further studies at Illinois Institute of Technology. He dropped out two years later and started his own business in 1947.

27. Bradberry, Henrietta

Selected Invention(s):

- The Bed Rack (Date: 25th May 1943, Patent No: 2320027)

28. Bradley, Benjamin

Selected Invention(s): First Steam Engine For A Ship

Additional information: Benjamin was born a slave, probably in 1830, and was taught to read and write by his master's children. He would show a talent for invention and later devised the first steam engine for a ship.

Showing a great natural talent for invention, his master referred him to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland to take up a position as an assistant in their Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. He was the first African American to hold any non-menial post at the Naval Academy. It was here that he developed his own design for a steam engine.

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Being a slave, he was not able to patent his invention - he did sell the rights to it, however, and used the money to buy his own freedom. 

29. Brooks, O. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Punch (Date: October 31, 1893, Patent No: 507672)

- Street Sweeper (Date: March 17, 1896, Patent No: 556711)

- Street Sweepers (Date: May 12, 1896, Patent No: 560154)

30. Brooks, O.B., Hallstead, G. M., and Page, S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Street Sweepers (Date: April 21, 1896, Patent No: 558719)

31. Brown, Henry

Selected Invention(s):

- Receptacle for Storing and Preserving Papers (Date: November 2, 1886, Patent No: 352036)

Additional information: The box designed by Brown used a series of hinged trays to separate papers and store them securely. It was especially useful for storing carbon papers, which could be damaged by scraping against the lid or other documents. The invention was a precursor to the personal safe. Although it was not the first patent for a strongbox, it was an improvement.

32. Brown, L. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bridle Bit (Date: October 25, 1892, Patent No: 484994)

33. Brown, Marie Van Brittan, and Brown, Albert

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: Timeline

Selected Invention(s):

- Home security system utilizing television surveillance (Date: December 2, 1969, Patent No: 3482037)

Additional information: Marie V. B. Brown was born in 1922 and as an adult, she lived in a crime-ridden neighborhood of Queens, NYC. Brown worked as a nurse, and her husband, Albert Brown, was an electronics technician. Their work hours meant that Brown was often home by herself.  Concerned about the slow police response times to their neighborhood, Brown created a system that would allow her to know who was at her home and contact authorities quickly in the event of a break-in.

Her original invention was included peepholes, a camera, monitors, a two-way microphone, and an alarm button to contact the police. Brown’s security system was the foundation for modern, two-way communication and surveillance systems. Brown’s invention gained her an award from the National Scientists Committee.  

34. Burr, J. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Lawn Mower (Date: May 9, 1889, Patent No: 624749)

35. Burridge, L. S. & Marshman, N. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Substitute for Inking Ribbons on Typewriters (Date: January 12, 1897, Patent No: 575145)

36. Burwell, W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Boot or Shoe (Date: November 28, 1899, Patent No: 638043)

37. Butler, R. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Train Alarm (Date: June 15, 1897, Patent No: 584540)

38. Butts, J. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Luggage Carrier (Date: October 10, 1899, Patent No: 634611)

39. Byrd, T. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Improvement in Holders for Reins for Horses (Date: February 6, 1872, Patent No: 123328)

- Apparatus for Detaching Horses From Carriages (Date: March 19, 1872, Patent No: 124790)

- Improvement in Neck Yokes For Wagons (Date: April 30, 1872, Patent No: 126181)

- Improvement in Car Couplings (Date: December 1, 1874, Patent No: 157370)

40. Campbell, W. S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Self-Setting Animal Trap (Date: August 30, 1881, Patent No: 246369)

41. Cargill, B. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Invalid Cot (Date: July 25, 1899, Patent No: 629658)

42. Carrington, T. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Cooking Range (Date: July 25, 1876, Patent No: 180323)

43. Carruthers, George R.

Selected Invention(s):

-Image converter for detecting electromagnetic radiation, especially in short wavelengths (Date: November 11, 1966, Patent No: 3478216)

44. Carter, W. G.

Selected Invention(s):

- Umbrella Stand (Date: August 4, 1885, Patent No: 323397)

45. Carver, George Washington

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: National Park Service

Selected Invention(s):

-Cosmetics And Producing The Same (Date: 6th January 1925, Patent No: 1522176)

-Paint And Stain And Producing The Same, Producing Paint And Stains Cosmetics And Producing The Same (Date: June 9, 1925, Patent No: 1541478)

- Process of Producing Paint And Stains (Date: June 14, 1927, Patent No: 1632365)

Additional information: Carver was born a slave in Missouri sometime between 1860 and 1865 (no exact records exist). After the Civil War, Carver's mother taught him to read and write. Later, he traveled to a school for Black children 10 miles away. He then homesteaded a claim, where he conducted biological experiments and compiled a geological collection. He would later devise over 300 different uses for peanuts, including cooking oil, printer’s ink, and axle grease.

George earned his Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science from Iowa State in 1894 - the first Black student at the college - and he followed this up with a master's in 1896. He later taught at the Tuskegee Institute, becoming a prominent scientific expert. In 1916, he was made a member of the British Royal Society of Arts and later advised Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi on matters of agriculture and nutrition. He received the 1923 Spingarn Medal and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

46. Certain, J. M.

Selected Invention(s):

- Parcel Carrier for Bicycles (Date: December 26, 1899, Patent No: 639708)

47. Cherry, M. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Velocipede (Date: May 8, 1888, Patent No: 382351)

- Street Car Finder (Date: January 1, 1895, Patent No: 531908)

48. Church, T. S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Carpet Beating Machine (Date: July 22, 1884, Patent No: 302237)

49. Clare, O. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Trestle (Date: October 9, 1888, Patent No: 390753)

50. Coates, R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Overboot for Horses (Date: April 19, 1892, Patent No: 473295)

51. Cook, G.

Selected Invention(s):

- Automatic Fishing Device (Date: May 30, 1899, Patent No: 625829)

52. Coolidge, J. S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Harness Attachment (Date: November 13, 1888, Patent No: 392908)

53. Cooper, A. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Shoemakers Jack (Date: August 22, 1899, Patent No: 631519)

54. Cooper, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Shutter and Fastening (Date: May 1, 1883, Patent No: 276563)

- Elevator Safety Device (Date: April 2, 1895, Patent No: 536605)

- Elevator Safety Device (Date: September 21, 1897, Patent No: 590257)

55. Cornwell, P. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Draft Regulator (Date: October 2, 1888, Patent No: 390284)

56. Cosgrove, W. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Automatic Stop Plug for Gas Oil Pipes (Date: March 17, 1885, Patent No: 313993)

57. Cotton, Donald J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Capillary Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactor (Date: April 27, 1982, Patent No: 4327443)

58. Cralle, A. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Ice-Cream Mold (Date: February 2, 1897, Patent No: 576395)

Additional information: Alfred L. Cralle was a Black American inventor and businessman. He is best known for his invention of the ice cream scoop. Cralle was born on the 4th of September 1866 in Virginia.

He never acquired a formal education beyond basic schooling as a child. He worked various odd jobs and devised the idea for his scoop whilst working at a hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he noticed how much difficulty people were having serving ice cream with spoons and ladles alone. However, he did not become famous or profit from his ice cream scoop. It spread so quickly that people never knew Cralle was the inventor. He was tragically killed during a car accident in 1920.

59. Creamer, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Steam Feed Water Trap (Date: March 17, 1895, Patent No: 313854)

- Steam Trap Feeder (Date: December 11, 1888, Patent No: 394463)

60. Crosthwait, David

Selected Invention(s):

- Arrangements for drainage, venting or aerating for steam heating systems (Date: September 10, 1929, Patent No: 1727965)

61. Darkins, J. T.

Selected Invention(s):

- Ventilation Aid (Date: February 19, 1895, Patent No: 534322)

62. Davis, I. D.

Selected Invention(s):

- Tonic (Date: November 2, 1886, Patent No: 351829)

63. Davis, W. D.

Selected Invention(s):

- Riding Saddles (Date: October 6, 1896, Patent No: 568939)

64. Davis, W. R., Jr.

Selected Invention(s):

- Library Table (Date: September 24, 1878, Patent No: 208378)

65. De Leon, Martha (Mary) Jones

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: U.S. Patent Database Search

Selected Invention(s):

- Cooking apparatus (Date: June 24, 1873, Patent No: 140253)

Additional information: Martha DeLeon was only the second African-American woman to receive a patent for her invention. Her invention was an early precursor of the steam tables that we see at food buffets worldwide today.

66. Deitz, W. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Improvement in Shoes (Date: April 30, 1867, Patent No: 64205)

67. Dickinson, J. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Player piano (Date: June 11, 1912, Patent No: 1028996)

- Arm for Recording Machine (Date: January 8, 1918, Patent No: 1252411)

68. Dorsey, O.

Selected Invention(s):

- Door-holding Device (Date: December 10, 1878, Patent No: 210764)

69. Dorticus, C. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Device for Applying Coloring Liquid to Sides of Soles Or Heels of Shoes (Date: March 19, 1895, Patent No: 535820)

- Machine for Embossing Photographs (Date: April 16, 1895, Patent No: 537442)

- Photographic Print Wash (Date: April 23, 1895, Patent No: 537968)

- Hose Leak Stop (Date: July 18, 1899, Patent No: 629315)

70. Downing, Gertrude E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Corner and Baseboard Cleaner Attachment for Rotary Floor Treatment Machines (Date: February 13, 1973, Patent No: 3715772)

71. Downing, P. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Electric Switch for Railroad (Date: June 17, 1890, Patent No: 430118)

- Street Letter Box (Date: October 27, 1891, Patent No: 462093)

72. Drew, Charles R. Md

Selected Invention(s):

- Apparatus For Preserving Blood/Blood Plasma Bag (Date: November 10, 1942, Patent No: 2301710)

73. Dunnington, J. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Horse Detachers (Date: March 16, 1897, Patent No: 578979)

74. Edmonds, T. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Separating Screens (Date: July 20, 1897, Patent No: 586724)

75. Eglin, Ellen

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Selected Invention(s):

- Improved Clothes Ringer (Date: September 8, 1891, Patent No: 459343) - sold to the registered patent holder O. Wheeler.

Additional information: Little is known about Ellen Eglin except she was born in 1849 and worked as a housekeeper and is the inventor of a mechanical clothes wringer.

Afraid that no one would buy the invention because of her race, she sold her invention to an agent for a pittance in 1888. She died in 1890 without having received any recognition for her device in her lifetime.

76. Elder, Clarence

Selected Invention(s):

- Bidirectional monitoring and control system (Date: December 28, 1976, Patent No: 4000400)

77. Elkins, T.

Selected Invention(s):

- Dining, Ironing Table, and Quilting Frame Combined (Date: February 22, 1870, Patent No: 100020)

- Chamber Commode (Date: January 9, 1872, Patent No: 122518)

- Refrigerating Apparatus (Date: November 4, 1879, Patent No: 221222)

78. Evans, J. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Convertible Settees (Date: October 5, 1897, Patent No: 591095)

79. Faulkner, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Ventilated Shoe (Date: April 29, 1890, Patent No: 426495)

80. Ferrell, F. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Steam Trap (Date: February 11, 1890, Patent No: 420993)

- Apparatus for Melting Snow (Date: May 27, 1890, Patent No: 428670)

81. Fisher, D. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Joiners Clamp (Date: April 20, 1875, Patent No: 162281)

- Furniture Castor (Date: March 14, 1876, Patent No: 174794)

82. Flemming, R. F., Jr.

Selected Invention(s):

-Euphonica (a type of Guitar) (Date: March 30, 1886, Patent No: 338727)

83. Goode, Sarah E.

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: Digging History

Selected Invention(s):

- Folding Cabinet Bed (Date: July 14, 1885, Patent No: 322177)

Additional information: Born into slavery in 1850, Goode was the second of seven children. She was freed at the end of the Civil War, and went on to become one of the first African-Americans to be awarded a patent.

It was in Chicago where Sarah met her husband, Archibald Goode, a carpenter, and stair builder. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, Goode opened a furniture store.

Many of her customers lived in small apartments and didn't have much space for furniture.

As a solution, Goode invented a cabinet bed, similar to what would now be called a Murphy bed. When the bed was not being used, it could also serve as a roll-top desk. Goode died on April 8, 1905, in Chicago at the age of 50.

84. Gourdine, Meredith C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Method and apparatus for converting chemical and thermal energy into electricity (Date: January 30, 1996, Patent No: 5487957)

- Method and apparatus for producing multivortex fluid flow (Date: October 10, 1995, Patent No: 5487957)

85. Grant, G. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Golf Tee (Date: December 12, 1899, Patent No: 638920)

Additional information: Grant was an African American dentist, academic, and inventor. He was born in 1846 in New York, to former slaves. When he was fifteen years old, he was hired by a local dentist, Dr. Albert Smith, as an errand boy. Dr. Smith soon promoted him to lab assistant and encouraged him to pursue a career in dentistry. In 1868, he and Robert Tanner Freeman became the first blacks to enroll in Harvard Dental School. After receiving his degree in 1870, he became the first African American faculty member at Harvard.

Grant was also an avid golfer and in 1899 he invented his golf tee, which was whittled from wood and capped a latex resin used for root canals. Grant died in 1910 from liver disease.

86. Grant, W. S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Curtain Rod Support (Date: August 4, 1896, Patent No: 565075)

87. Gray, R. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Baling Press (Date: August 28, 1894, Patent No: 525203)

- Cistern Cleaner (Date: April 9, 1895, Patent No: 537151)

88. Gregory, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Motor (Date: April 26, 1887, Patent No: 361937)

89. Grenon, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Razor Stropping Device (Date: February 18, 1896, Patent No: 554867)

90. Griffin, T. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Pool Table Attachment (Date: June 13, 1899, Patent No: 626902)

91. Gunn, S. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Adjustable Boot or Shoe (Date: January 16, 1900, Patent No: 641642)

92. Haines, J. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Portable Shampooing Basin (Date: September 28, 1897, Patent No: 590833)

93. Hall, Lloyd

Selected Invention(s):

Asphalt emulsion and manufacture thereof (Date: October 18, 1932, Patent No: 1,882,834)

Vitamin Concetrate (Date: November 26, 1935, Patent No: 2,022,464)

Manufacture of Nitrogen-Fortified Whey Concentrate (Date: November 28, 1944, Patent No: 2,363,730)

Additional information: Lloyd Hall was a Black American inventor, chemist, and scientist. He is best known for his work on food preservation techniques. Hall was born in 1894 in Elgin, Illinois, and earned his degree in B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1916.

He would later take up employment at Griffith's Laboratories where he would devise his new techniques for food preservation. Hall died in 1971.

94. Hammonds, J. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Apparatus for Holding Yarn Skeins (Date: December 15, 1896, Patent No: 572985)

95. Harding, F. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Extension Banquet Table (Date: November 22, 1898, Patent No: 614468)

96. Harney, M. C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Lantern Or Lamp (Date: August 19, 1884, Patent No: 303844)

97. Harper, Solomon

Selected Invention(s):

-Thermostatic controlled hair curlers, combs, and irons (Date: August 11, 1953, Patent No: 2648757)

98. Harris, Dr. Betty Wright

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: Cpnas

Selected Invention(s):

- ATB Spot Test for 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene, TATB (Date: October 21, 1986, Patent No: 4618452)

Additional information: Dr. Betty Harris is an American organic analytical chemist, a leading expert in explosives, environmental remediation, and hazardous waste treatment. She was awarded a patent for her TATB spot test, which identifies explosives in a field environment.

She was born in July 1940 in rural Louisiana and was one of 12 children. Harris later earned her Bachelor's in Chemistry in 1961 and her Master's in 1963 followed by her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1973, from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

99. Hawkins, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Gridiron (Date: March 26, 1845, Patent No: 3973)

100. Hawkins, Lincoln Walter

Selected Invention(s): 

- Alpha olefin hydrocarbons stabilized with carbon black and a carbocyclic thioether (Date: January 10, 1961, Patent No: 2,967,8453973)

Additional information: Hawkins was born in 1911 in Washington, D.C., the grandson of a slave. After graduating from high school he went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was one of only two Black students at the school. He later earned his Doctorate from McGill University, in 1938. In 1942, Hawkins became the first Black person to join the technical staff of Bell Laboratories.

While working at Bell Labs, he devised and patented a new polymer plastic cable sheath for cables that could withstand extreme fluctuations in temperature and last up to seventy years.

Hawkins retired from Bell Labs in 1976 and worked as the director of research of the Plastics Institute of America until 1983. He died in 1992.

101. Hawkins, R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Harness Attachment (Date: October 4, 1887, Patent No: 370943)

102. Headen, M.

Selected Invention(s):

- Foot Power Hammer (Date: October 5, 1886, Patent No: 350363)

103. Hearns, R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Sealing Attachment for Bottles (Date: February 15, 1898, Patent No: 598929)

- Detachable Car Fender (Date: July 4, 1899, Patent No: 628003)

104. Hilyer, A. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Water Evaporator Attachment For Hot Air Registers (Date: August 26, 1890, Patent No: 435095)

105. Hodge, John

Selected Invention(s):

- Multiple camera systems and methods (Date: June 3, 2008, Patent No: 7381952)

-Substituted benzodioxan sweetening compound (Date: March 27, 1979, Patent No: 4146650)

- Fifth-wheel braking control (Date: January 25, 1977, Patent No: 4093265)

106. Holley, Kerrie L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Personalized content and services based on profile information (Date: May 13, 2019, Patent No: 11165881)

- Method for capturing evolving data (Date: July 21, 2020, Patent No: 10719500)

- Dynamic digital shelves using big data (Date: August 27, 2019, Patent No: 10395299)

107. Holmes, Lydia M.

Selected Invention(s):

- The Knockdown Wheeled Toy (Date: November 14, 1950, Patent No: 2529692)

108. Hull, Wilson E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Sublimation timing switch (Date: November 15, 1966, Patent No: 3286064)

- Mass release mechanism for satellites (Date: January 28, 1969, Patent No: 3424403)

109. Hyde, R. N.

Selected Invention(s):

- Composition for Cleaning and Preserving Carpets (Date: November 6, 1888, Patent No: 392205)

110. Jackson, B. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Heating Apparatus (Date: March 1, 1898, Patent No: 599985)

- Matrix Drying Apparatus (Date: May 10, 1898, Patent No: 603879)

- Gas Burner (Date: April 4, 1899, Patent No: 622482)

111. Jackson, H. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Kitchen Table (Date: October 6, 1896, Patent No: 569135)

112. Jackson, W. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Railway Switch (Date: March 9, 1897, Patent No: 578641)

- Railway Switch (Date: November 16, 1897, Patent No: 593665)

- Automatic Locking Switch (Date: August 23, 1898, Patent No: 609436)

113. Jennings, Thomas L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Dry Scouring Cleaning Technique (Date: October 18, 1821/1843, Patent No: 3306x)

Additional information: Jennings was born in 1791 as a freeman who successfully developed a means of cleaning clothes with a technique called dry scouring, the forerunner of today's dry cleaning. Thomas apprenticed as a tailor in his youth with part of his services being providing dry-cleaning services to clients.

Later on, he created his own business as a tailor and dry cleaner and became highly respected by his local community. He used his early profits to buy his wife's and children's freedom.

114. Johnson, Anthony Dr.

Selected Invention(s):

- Photodetector having semi-insulating material and a contoured, substantially periodic surface (Date: November 26, 1985, Patent No: 4555622)

- Integrated optical device having integral photodetector (Date: November 3, 1987, Patent No: 4703996)

- High-speed circuit measurements using photoemission sampling (Date: January 26, 1988, Patent No: 4721910)

115. Johnson, D.

Selected Invention(s):

- Lawn Mower Attachment (Date: September 10, 1889, Patent No: 410836)

- Grass Receivers for Lawn Mowers (Date: June 10, 1890, Patent No: 429629)

116. Johnson, I. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bicycle Frame (Date: October 10, 1899, Patent No: 634823)

117. Johnson, P.

Selected Invention(s):

- Swinging Chairs (Date: November 15, 1881, Patent No: 249530)

- Eye Protector (Date: November 2, 1880, Patent No: 234039)

118. Johnson, W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Egg Beater (Date: February 5, 1884, Patent No: 292821)

119. Johnson, W. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Gearing for Overcoming Dead Centers (Date: February 4, 1896, Patent No: 554223)

- Gearing for Overcoming Dead Centers (Date: October 11, 1898, Patent No: 612345)

120. Jones, Albert A. & Long, Amos E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Caps for Bottles (Date: September 13, 1898, Patent No: 610715)

121. Jones, F. M.

Selected Invention(s):

- Ticket Dispensing Machine (Date: June 27, 1939, Patent No: 2163754)

- Air conditioning Unit (Date: July 12, 1949, Patent No: 2475841)

- Method for Air Conditioning (Date: December 7, 1954, Patent No: 2696086)

- Method for Preserving Perishables (Date: February 12, 1957, Patent No: 2780923)

- Two-Cycle Gas Engine (Date: May 29, 1945, Patent No: 2376968)

- Starter Generator for Cooling Gas Engines (Date: July 12, 1949, Patent No: 2475843)

- Two-Cycle Gas Engine (Date: March 11, 1947, Patent No: 2417253)

- Means for Thermostatically Operating Gas Engines (Date: July 26, 1949, Patent No: 2477377)

- Rotary Compressor (Date: April 18, 1950, Patent No: 2504841)

- System for Controlling Operation of Refrigeration Units (Date: May 23, 1950, Patent No: 2509099)

- Apparatus for Heating or Cooling Atmosphere within an Enclosure (Date: October 24, 1950, Patent No: 2526874)

- Prefabricated Refrigerator Construction (Date: December 26, 1950, Patent No: 2535682)

- Refrigeration Control Device (Date: January 8, 1952, Patent No: 2581956)

- Methods and Means of Defrosting a Cold Diffuser (Date: January 19, 1954, Patent No: 2666298)

- Control Device for Internal Combustion Engine (Date: September 2, 1958, Patent No: 2850001)

- Thermostat and Temperature Control System (Date: February 23, 1960, Patent No: 2926005)

- Removable Cooling Units for Compartments (Date: December 14, 1943, Patent No: 2336735)

- Means for Automatically Stopping & Starting Gas Engines (“J.A. Numero et al”) (Date: December 21, 1943, Patent No: 2337164)

122. Joyce, J. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Coal or Ore Bucket (Date: April 26, 1898, Patent No: 603143)

123. Kelley, George W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Steam Table (Date: October 26, 1897, Patent No: 592591)

124. Latimer, L. H.  & Brown, C. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Water Closets for Railway Cars (Date: February 10, 1874, Patent No: 147363)

125. Latimer, L. H. & Nichols, J. V.

Selected Invention(s):

- Electric Lamp (Date: September 13, 1881, Patent No: 247097)

126. Latimer, L. H. & Tregoning, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Globe Support for Electric Lamps (Date: March 21, 1882, Patent No: 255212)

127. Latimer, L. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Manufacturing Carbons (Date: January 17, 1882, Patent No: 252386)

- Apparatus for Cooling and Disinfecting (Date: January 12, 1886, Patent No: 334078)

- Locking Racks for Coats, Hats, & Umbrellas (Date: March 24, 1896, Patent No: 557076)

128. Lavalette, W. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Printing Press (Date: September 17, 1878, Patent No: 208184)

129. Lee, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Animal Trap (Date: February 12, 1867, Patent No: 61941)

130. Lee, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Kneading Machine (Date: August 7, 1894, Patent No: 524042)

- Bread Crumbing Machine (Date: June 4, 1895, Patent No: 540553)

131. Leslie, F. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Envelope Seal (Date: September 21, 1897, Patent No: 590325)

132. Lewis, A. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Window Cleaner (Date: September 27, 1892, Patent No: 483359)

133. Lewis, E. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Spring Gun (Date: May 3, 1887, Patent No: 362096)

134. Linden, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Piano Truck (Date: September 8, 1891, Patent No: 459365)

135. Little, E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bridle-Bit (Date: March 7, 1882, Patent No: 254666)

136. Long, A. E. And Jones, A. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Caps For Bottles (Date: September 13, 1898, Patent No: 610715)

137. Loudin, F. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Sash-Fastener (Date: December 12, 1892, Patent No: 510432)

138. Love, J. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Plasterers’ Hawk (Date: July 9, 1895, Patent No: 542419)

- Pencil Sharpener (Date: November 23, 1897, Patent No: 594114)

139. Maceo West, James Edward

Selected Invention(s):

- Electroacoustic transducer (Date: January 14, 1964, Patent No: 3118022)

Additional information: James Edward Maceo West is a prolific American inventor and professor best-known for the invention of an early microphone called the electroacoustic transducer electret microphone (ETEM). He holds over 250 other patents as well. He was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1931. James would later graduate from Temple University in 1957 with a degree in Physics. He then began a lifetime career at Bell Labs as a full-time acoustical scientist.

140. Marshman, Newman R. & Burridge, L. S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Adding Machine (Date: January 23, 1894, Patent No: 513452)

141. Martin, Thomas J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Fire Extinguisher (Date: March 26, 1872, Patent No: 125063)

142. Martin, W. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Lock (Date: July 23, 1889, Patent No: 407738)

- Lock (Date: December 30, 1890, Patent No: 443945)

143. Matzeliger, J. E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Mechanism for Distributing Tacks (Date: November 26, 1896, Patent No: 415726)

- Nailing Machine (Date: February 25, 1896, Patent No: 421954)

- Tack Separating Mechanism (Date: March 25, 1890, Patent No: 423937)

- Lasting Machine (Date: September 22, 1891, Patent No: 459899)

Additional information: Matzliger was born in 1852 in Paramaribo in Dutch Guiana. After experimenting with different designs, Jan Matzeliger invented the shoe-lasting machine that adjusted the shoe leather upper to fit snugly over the mold.

Jan was born in 1852, thea son of Surinamese and Dutch parents in Paramaribo in Dutch Guiana (now called Suriname). He showed interest in mechanics from a young age and began working in machine shops at the age of 10. At 19, he left Suriname as a sailor on an East Indian merchant ship, settling in Philadelphia in 1873. He started work at a shoe factory in 1877 and it was here that he conceived of his invention.

144. McCoy, E. J.

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: Ypsilanti Historical Society/Wikimedia Commons

Selected Invention(s):

- Lubricator (Date: May 27, 1873, Patent No: 139407)

- Lubricator (Date: March 28, 1882, Patent No: 255443)

- Lubricator (Date: July 18, 1882, Patent No: 261166)

- Lubricator (Date: June 16, 1885, Patent No: 320379)

- Lubricator (Date: February 8, 1887, Patent No: 357491)

- Lubricator (Date: May 29, 1888, Patent No: 383745)

- Lubricator (Date: May 29, 1888, Patent No: 383746)

- Lubricator (Date: December 24, 1889, Patent No: 418139)

- Lubricator (Date: December 29, 1891, Patent No: 465875)

- Lubricator (Date: April 5, 1892, Patent No: 472066)

- Lubricator (Date: September 13, 1898, Patent No: 610634)

- Lubricator (Date: October 4, 1898, Patent No: 611759)

- Oil Cup (Date: November 15, 1898, Patent No: 614307)

- Lubricator (Date: June 27, 1899, Patent No: 627623)

- Lubricator for Steam Engines (Date: July 23, 1872, Patent No: 129843)

- Lubricator for Steam Engines (Date: August 6, 1872, Patent No: 130305)

- Steam Lubricator (Date: January 20, 1874, Patent No: 146697)

- Ironing Table (Date: May 12, 1874, Patent No: 150876)

- Steam Cylinder Lubricator (Date: February 1, 1876, Patent No: 173032)

- Steam Cylinder Lubricator (Date: July 4, 1876, Patent No: 179585)

- Steam Dome for Locomtivies (Date: June 16, 1885, Patent No: 320354)

- Lubricator Attachment (Date: April 19, 1887, Patent No: 361435)

- Lubricator for Safety Valves (Date: May 24, 1887, Patent No: 363529)

- Drip Cup (Date: September 29, 1891, Patent No: 460215)

Additional information: Elijah McCoy was born in 1844 in Ontario, Canada. His parents had been runaway slaves who were successfully relocated to Canada by the Underground Railroad. Although his parents were very poor, they managed to save enough money to send McCoy to a boarding school in Edinburgh, Scotland to study mechanical engineering when he was 15.

On his return to the United States, McCoy had a hard time finding a job because of his race. He eventually took a menial job as a railroad fireman, oiling the working parts of the trains. He found the work slow and boring and so developed a number of devices to allow automatic lubrication. His success may have been the origin of the phrase “the real McCoy” to describe an instrument that is flawless in quality and performance.  

145. McCree, D.

Selected Invention(s):

- Portable Fire Escape (Date: November 11, 1899, Patent No: 440322)

146. McLurkin, James

Selected Invention(s):

- Systems and methods for dispersing and clustering a plurality of robotic devices (Date: October 16, 2012, Patent No: 8290619)

- Systems and methods for dispersing and clustering a plurality of robotic devices (Date: November 30, 2010, Patent No: 7844364)

- System and methods for adaptive control of robotic devices (Date: August 7, 2007, Patent No: 7254464)

147. Mendenhall, A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Holder for Driving Reins (Date: November 28, 1899, Patent No: 637811)

148. Miles, A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Elevator (Date: October 11, 1887, Patent No: 371207)

149. Mitchell, C. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Device for Aid in Vocal Culture (Date: January 1, 1884, Patent No: 291071)

150. Mitchell, J. M.

Selected Invention(s):

- Cheek Row Corn Planter (Date: January 16, 1900, Patent No: 641462)

151. Montgomery, Benjamin

Selected Invention(s): Shallow Water Steam Propeller

Additional information: Montgomery was born into slavery in 1819. He was taught to read and write by his owners' children and ran the plantation store. Impressed with his abilities, Montgomery's owner placed him in charge of overseeing the purchasing and shipping operations on the plantation. He also learned land surveying and drafting.

Montgomery later created a propellor that could cut into the water at different angles, allowing boats to navigate more easily in shallow water. He was not able to patent the device because he was a slave. His owner, Joseph Davis, also attempted to patent the device but was denied because he was not the true inventor.

After the Civil War, Montgomery bought his former owner's plantation.

152. Moody, W. U.

Selected Invention(s):

- Game Board Design (Date: May 11, 1897, Patent No: 27046S)

153. Morehead, K.

Selected Invention(s):

- Reel Carrier (Date: October 6, 1896, Patent No: 568916)

154. Morgan, Garrett

Selected Invention(s):

- Breathing device (Date: October 13, 1914, Patent No: 1113675)

- Traffic signal (Date: November 20, 1923, Patent No: 1475024)

Additional information: Garrett Morgan was a Black American inventor and community leader. He famously rescued workers trapped within a water intake tunnel in 1916 and was a prolific inventor.

Repairing sewing machines inspired him to make his first invention, a belt fastener for sewing machines. In 1907, he opened his own sewing machine and shoe repair shop. This would grow and expand into the Morgan’s Cut Rate Ladies Clothing Store in 1909 which had 32 employees.

155. Murray, G. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Combined Furrow Opener and Stalk-Knocker (Date: April 10, 1894, Patent No: 517960)

- Cultivator and Marker (Date: April 10, 1894, Patent No: 517961)

- Planter (Date: June 5, 1894, Patent No: 520887)

- Fertilizer Distributor (Date: June 5, 1894, Patent No: 520889)

- Combined cotton-seed planter and fertilizer-distributer (Date: June 5, 1894, Patent No: 520891)

- Reaper (Date: June 5, 1894, Patent No: 520892)

- Attachment for Bicycles (Date: January 27, 1891, Patent No: 445452)

156. Nance, L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Game Apparatus (Date: December 1, 1891, Patent No: 464035)

157. Nash, H. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Life Preserving Stool (Date: October 5, 1875, Patent No: 168519)

158. Newman, L. D.

Selected Invention(s):

- Brush (Date: November 15, 1898, Patent No: 614335)

Additional information: Newman is best known for her invention of an improved hairbrush design in 1898. She was born in Ohio in around 1885 and later worked in New York City as a family hairdresser. Newman's hairbrush design improved efficiency and hygiene.

Newman was mentioned in local newspapers in 1915 for her work as a suffragette and was one of the organizers of an African-American branch of the Woman Suffrage Party, 

159. Newson, S.

Selected Invention(s):

- Oil Heater or Cooker (Date: May 22, 1894, Patent No: 520188)

160. Nichols, J. V. & Latimer, L. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Electric Lamp (Date: September 13, 1881, Patent No: 247097)

161. Nickerson, W. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Piano Attachment (Date: June 27, 1899, Patent No: 627739)

162. O’Conner, J. & Turner, A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Alarm for Boiler (Date: August 25, 1896, Patent No: 566612)

- Steam Gage (Date: August 25, 1896, Patent No: 566613)

- Alarm For Water Containing Vessels (Date: February 8, 1898, Patent No: 598572)

163. Outlaw, J. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Horseshoes (Date: November 15, 1898, Patent No: 614273)

164. Parker, Alice H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Improvement On The Heating Furnace (Date: December 23, 1919, Patent No: 1325905)

165. Perryman, F. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Caterers’ Tray Table (Date: February 2, 1892, Patent No: 468038)

166. Peterson, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Attachment for Lawn Mowers (Date: April 30, 1889, Patent No: 402189)

167. Phelps, W. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Apparatus for Washing Vehicles (Date: March 23, 1897, Patent No: 579242)

168. Pickering, J. F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Air Ship (Date: February 20, 1900, Patent No: 643975)

169. Pickett, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Scaffold (Date: June 30, 1874, Patent No: 152511)

170. Pinn, T. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- File Holder (Date: August 17, 1880, Patent No: 231355)

171. Polk, A. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bicycle Support (Date: April 14, 1896, Patent No: 558103)

172. Pugsley, A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Blind Stop (Date: July 29, 1890, Patent No: 433306)

173. Purdy, W. H. & Peters, L. C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Design for Spoons (Date: April 23, 1895, Patent No: 24228)

174. John E. Purdy and Daniel R. Sadgwar

Invention(s):

- Foldable Chair (Date: June 11, 1889, Patent No: 405117)

175. Purdy, W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Device For Sharpening Edged Tools (Date: October 27, 1896, Patent No: 570337)

- Device For Sharpening Edged Tools (Date: August 16, 1898, Patent No: 609367)

- Device for Sharpening Edged tools (Date: August 1, 1899, Patent No: 630106)

176. Purvis, W. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bag Fastener (Date: April 25, 1882, Patent No: 256856)

- Hand Stamp (Date: February 27, 1883, Patent No: 273149)

- Fountain Pen (Date: January 7, 1890, Patent No: 419065)

- Electric Railway (Date: May 1, 1894, Patent No: 519291)

- Magnetic Car Balancing Device (Date: May 21, 1895, Patent No: 539542)

- Electric Railway Switch (Date: August 17, 1897, Patent No: 588176)

177. Queen, W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Guard for Companion Ways and Hatches (Date: August 18, 1891, Patent No: 458131)

178. Ray, E. P.

Selected Invention(s):

- Chair Supporting Device (Date: February 21, 1899, Patent No: 620078)

179. Reed, Judy

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: U.S. Patent Database Search 

Selected Invention(s):

- Dough Kneader and Roller (Date: September 23, 1884, Patent No: 305474)

Additional information: Reed is considered to be the first African-American woman to ever receive a patent. Little else is known about her life.

180. Reynolds, H. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Window Ventilator for Railroad Cars (Date: April 3, 1883, Patent No: 275271)

181. Reynolds, R. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Non-Refillable Bottle (Date: May 2, 1899, Patent No: 624092)

182. Rhodes, J. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Water Closet (Date: December 19, 1899, Patent No: 639290)

183. Richardson, A. C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Hame Fastener (Date: March 14, 1882, Patent No: 255022)

- Churn (Date: February 17, 1891, Patent No: 446470)

- Casket Lowering Device (Date: November 13, 1894, Patent No: 529311)

- Insect Destroyer (Date: February 28, 1899, Patent No: 620362)

- Bottle (Date: December 12, 1899, Patent No: 638811)

184. Richardson, W. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Cotton Chopper (Date: June 1, 1886, Patent No: 343140)

- Child’s Carriage (Date: June 18, 1889, Patent No: 405599)

- Child’s Carriage (Date: June 18, 1889, Patent No: 405600)

185. Richey, C. V.

Selected Invention(s):

- Car Coupling (Date: June 15, 1897, Patent No: 584650)

- Railroad Switch (Date: August 3, 1897, Patent No: 587657)

- Railroad Switch (Date: October 26, 1897, Patent No: 592448)

- Fire Escape Bracket (Date: December 28, 1897, Patent No: 596427)

- Combined Hammock and Stretcher (Date: December 13, 1898, Patent No: 615907)

186. Rickman, A. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Overshoe (Date: February 8, 1898, Patent No: 598816)

187. Ricks, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Horseshoe (Date: March 30, 1886, Patent No: 338781)

- Overshoes for Horses (Date: June 6, 1899, Patent No: 626245)

188. Rillieux, N.

Selected Invention(s):

- Sugar Refiner (Evaporating Pan) (Date: December 10, 1846, Patent No: 4879)

189. Robinson, E. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Casting Composite (Date: November 23, 1897, Patent No: 594286)

- Electric Railway Trolley (Date: September 19, 1893, Patent No: 505370)

190. Robinson, J. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Life-Saving Guards for Locomotives (Date: March 14, 1899, Patent No: 621143)

- Life-Saving Guards for Street Cars (Date: April 25, 1899, Patent No: 623929)

- Dinner Pail (Date: February 1, 1887, Patent No: 356852)

191. Romain, A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Passenger Register (Date: April 23, 1889, Patent No: 402035)

192. Ross, A. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Runner for Stoops (Date: August 4, 1896, Patent No: 565301)

- Bag Closure (Date: June 7, 1898, Patent No: 605343)

- Trousers Support or Stretcher (Date: November 28, 1899, Patent No: 638068)

193. Ross, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bailing Press (Date: September 5, 1899, Patent No: 632539)

194. Roston, D. N.

Selected Invention(s):

- Feather Curler (Date: March 10, 1896, Patent No: 556166)

195. Russell, L. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Guard Attachment for Beds (Date: August 13, 1895, Patent No: 544381)

196. Sammons, W. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- The Comb (Date: December 21, 1920, Patent No: 1362823)

197. Sampson, G. T.

Selected Invention(s):

- Sled Propeller (Date: February 17, 1885, Patent No: 312388)

- Clothes Drier (Date: June 7, 1892, Patent No: 476416)

198. Scott, R. P.

Selected Invention(s):

- Corn Silker (Date: 7th August, 1894, Patent No: 524223)

199. Scottron, S. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Adjustable Window Cornice (Date: February 17, 1880, Patent No: 224732)

- Cornice (Date: January 16, 1883, Patent No: 270851)

- Pole Tip (Date: September 21, 1886, Patent No: 349525)

- Curtain Rod (Date: August 30, 1892, Patent No: 481720)

- Supporting Bracket (Date: September 12, 1893, Patent No: 505008)

Additional information: Samuel R. Scottron was a Black American inventor and entrepreneur. He was born sometime between 1841 and 1843 and moved to Florida in 1864, starting a grocery store chain. Later, he soon sold his store and relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts, and worked as a barber. After finding that his customers had difficulty in seeing the back of their heads, Scottron invented dual adjustable mirrors on a standing pole. He obtained a patent for his first invention, the Scottron Mirror, in March 1868.

Scottron graduated from Cooper Union with a degree in Algebra and Engineering in 1875 and obtained a number of patents for various devices. He was an avid abolitionist and wrote on race-related matters for various newspapers and magazines. Scottron died of natural causes on October 14, 1908.

200. Skanks, S. C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Sleeping Car Berth Register (Date: July 27, 1897, Patent No: 587165)

201. Shorter, D. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Feed Rack (Date: May 17, 1887, Patent No: 363089)

202. Smith, J. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Game (Date: April 17, 1900, Patent No: 647887)

- Lawn Sprinkler (Date: May 4, 1897, Patent No: 581785)

- Lawn Sprinkler (Date: March 22, 1898, Patent No: 601065)

203. Smith, Mildred E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Family Relationships Card Game (Date: October 28, 1980, Patent No: 4230321)

204. Smith, P. D.

Selected Invention(s):

- Potato Digger (Date: January 27, 1891, Patent No: 445206)

- Grain Binder (Date: February 23, 1892, Patent No: 469279)

205. Snow, William & Johns, James A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Liniment (Date: October 7, 1890, Patent No: 437728)

206. Spears, H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Portable Shield for Infantry and Artillary (Date: December 27, 1870, Patent No: 110599)

207. Spikes, R. B.

Selected Invention(s):

- Combination Milk Bottle Opener And Bottle Cover (Date: June 29, 1926, Patent No: 1590557)

- Method and Apparatus for Obtaining Average Samples and Temperature Of Tank Liquids (Date: October 27, 1931, Patent No: 1828753)

- Automatic Gear Shift (Date: December 6, 1932, Patent No: 1889814)

- Transmission and Shifting Thereof (Date: November 28, 1933, Patent No: 1936996)

208. Standard, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Oil Stove (Date: October 29, 1889, Patent No: 413689)

- Refrigerator (Date: July 14, 1891, Patent No: 455891)

209. Stewart, E. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Machine For Forming Vehicle Sear Bars (Date: November 11, 1887, Patent No: 373698)

- Punching Machine (Date: May 3, 1887, Patent No: 362190)

210. Stewart, T. W. 

Selected Invention(s):

- Metal Bending Machine (Date: December 27, 1887, Patent No: 375512)

- Mop (Date: June 13, 1893, Patent No: 499402)

- Station Indicator (Date: June 20, 1893, Patent No: 499895)

211. Stokes, Rufus

Selected Invention(s):

- Exhaust Purifier (Date: April 16, 1968, Patent No: 3378241)

212. Sutton, E. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Cotton Cultivator (Date: April 7, 1874, Patent No: 149543)

213. Sweeting, J. A.

Selected Invention(s):

- Device for Rolling Cigarettes (Date: November 30, 1897, Patent No: 594501)

- Combined Knife and Scoop (Date: June 7, 1898, Patent No: 605209)

214. Taylor, B. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Rotary Engine (Date: April 23, 1878, Patent No: 202888)

- Slide Valve (Date: July 6, 1897, Patent No: 585798)

215. Temple, L.

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: LGagnon/Wikimedia Commons

Selected Invention(s): Temple's Toggle/Blood Harpoon

Additional information: Temple was born as a slave in 1800. In 1829, he obtained his freedom and moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he worked as a blacksmith and opened a whalecraft store.

In 1848, Temple invented an improved harpoon with a pivoting head that was very similar to those used by First Peoples. His harpoon was a great success, but he never patented it. He died in 1854 from injuries sustained after falling into a hole near his shop.

216. Thomas, S. E.

Selected Invention(s):

- Waste Trap (Date: October 16, 1883, Patent No: 286746)

- Waste Trap for Basins, Closets, etc. (Date: October 4, 1887, Patent No: 371107)

- Pipe Connection (Date: October 9, 1888, Patent No: 390821)

217. Thomas, Valerie

A-Z List of Black and African-American inventors and inventions
Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Selected Invention(s):

- Illusion Transmitter (Date: October 21, 1980, Patent No: 4229761)

Additional information: Valerie Thomas is an accomplished African-American scientist and inventor who patented the illusion transmitter and contributed greatly to NASA research.

She was born in May 1943 in Maryland and quickly showed an aptitude and fascination for technology at a young age. She later graduated from Morgan State University and became one of only two women to major in Physics there.

She began her lifelong career at NASA in 1964. In the 1970s, she managed the development of the image-processing systems for Landsat, the first satellite to send images to the Earth from space. During her career at NASA, she worked Project Manager of the Space Physics Analysis Network and Associate Chief of the Space Science Data Operations Office. She retired from NASA in 1995.

218. Toliver, G.

Selected Invention(s):

- Propeller for Vessels (Date: April 28, 1891, Patent No: 451086)

219. Tregoning, J. & Latimer, L. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Globe Supporter for Electric Lamps (Date: March 21, 1882, Patent No: 255212)

220. Turner, M. 

Selected Invention(s):

- The Fruit Press (Date: April 25, 1916, Patent No: 1180959)

221. Walker, P.

Selected Invention(s):

- Machine for Cleaning Seed Cotton (Date: February 16, 1897, Patent No: 577153)

- Bait Holder (Date: March 8, 1898, Patent No: 600241)

222. Waller, J. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Shoemaker’s Cabinet or Bench (Date: February 3, 1880, Patent No: 224253)

223. Washington, W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Corn Husking Machine (Date: August 14, 1883, Patent No: 283173)

224. Watkins, Isaac

Selected Invention(s):

- Scrubbing Frame (Date: October 7, 1890, Patent No: 437849)

225. Watts, J. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Bracket for Miners’ Lamp (Date: March 7, 1893, Patent No: 493137)

226. West, E. H.

Selected Invention(s):

- Weather Shield (Date: September 5, 1899, Patent No: 632385)

227. West, J. W.

Selected Invention(s):

- Wagon (Date: October 18, 1870, Patent No: 108419)

228. White, D. L.

Selected Invention(s):

- Extension Steps for Cars (Date: January 12, 1897, Patent No: 574969)

229. White, J. T.

Selected Invention(s):

- Lemon Squeezer (Date: December 8, 1896, Patent No: 572849)

230. Williams, C.

Selected Invention(s):

- Canopy Frame (Date: February 2, 1892, Patent No: 468280)

231. Williams, J. P.

Selected Invention(s):

- Pillow Sham Holder (Date: October 10, 1899, Patent No: 634784)

232. Winn, F.

Selected Invention(s):

- Direct Acting Steam Engine (Date: December 4, 1888, Patent No: 394047)

233. Winters, J. R.

Selected Invention(s):

- Fire Escape Ladder (Date: May 7, 1878, Patent No: 203517)

- Fire Escape Ladder (Date: April 8, 1879, Patent No: 214224)

Additional information: Joseph Winters was a Black American abolitionist and inventor. He is best known for his patent for a wagon-mounted fire escape ladder.

He was also an active member of the Underground Railroad Movement in the United States. Joseph developed his ladders whilst noting the trouble fireman had unloaded and raised their ladders from wagons. Joseph died in 1916 at the age of 100.

234. Wood, F. J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Potato Digger (Date: April 23, 1895, Patent No: 537953)

235. Woods, G. T.

Selected Invention(s):

- Steam Boiler Furnace (Date: June 3, 1884, Patent No: 299894)

- Apparatus for Transmission of Messages by Electricity (Date: April 7, 1885, Patent No: 315368)

- Relay Instrument (Date: June 7, 1887, Patent No: 364619)

- Polarized Relay (Date: July 5, 1887, Patent No: 366192)

- Electro-Mechanical Brake (Date: August 16, 1887, Patent No: 368265)

- Telephone System and Apparatus (Date: October 11, 1887, Patent No: 371241)

- Electro-Magnetic Brake Apparatus (Date: October 18, 1887, Patent No: 371655)

- Railway Telegraphy (Date: November 15, 1887, Patent No: 373383)

- Induction Telegraph System (Date: November 29, 1887, Patent No: 373915)

- Overhead Conducting System for Electric Railway (Date: May 29, 1888, Patent No: 383844)

- Electro-Motive Railway System (Date: June 26, 1888, Patent No: 385034)

- Tunnel Construction for Electric Railway (Date: July 17, 1888, Patent No: 386282)

- Galvanic Battery (Date: August 14, 1888, Patent No: 387839)

- Railway Telegraphy (Date: August 28, 1888, Patent No: 388803)

- Automatic Safety Cut-Out for Electric Circuits (Date: January 1, 1889, Patent No: 395533)

- Electric Railway System (Date: November 10, 1891, Patent No: 463020)

- Electric Railway Conduit (Date: November 21, 1893, Patent No: 509065)

- System of Electrical Distribution (Date: October 13, 1896, Patent No: 569443)

- Amusement Apparatus (Date: December 19, 1899, Patent No: 639692)

- Electric Railway (Date: January 29, 1901, Patent No: 667110)

- Electric Railway System (Date: July 9, 1901, Patent No: 678086)

- Regulating and Controlling Electrical Translating Devices (Date: September 3, 1901, Patent No: 681768)

- Electric Railway (Date: November 19, 1901, Patent No: 687098)

- Automatic Air Brake (Date: June 10, 1902, Patent No: 701981)

- Electric Railway System (Date: January 13, 1903, Patent No: 718183)

- Electric Railway (Date: May 26, 1903, Patent No: 729481)

Additional information: Granville Woods was a very prolific inventor who came to be known as the "Black Edison". He made key contributions to the development of the telephone, streetcar, and more.

Woods received little schooling as a young man but later spent some time working on railways and took courses in engineering and electricity. He eventually set up his own company to develop and manufacture electrical apparatus. The patent for his improved telephone transmitter was bought by Alexander Graham Bell. One of his most important inventions was a grooved metal wheel that allowed streetcars to collect electric power from overhead wires.

However,  his most important invention was the induction telegraph, which allowed communication by voice over telegraph wires. In 1901, Woods invented the power pick-up, which is the basis of the "third rail" used by electric-powered transit systems. 

At the time of his death, on January 30, 1910, Woods had received nearly 60 patents, and many of his inventions are still in use today.

236. Wormley, J.

Selected Invention(s):

- Life-Saving Apparatus (Date: May 24, 1881, Patent No: 242091)

Alphabetically order list of Black Inventors

  • Abrams, W. B.
  • Alcorn, George Edward Jr.
  • Allen, C. W.
  • Allen, J. B.
  • Ashbourne, A. P.
  • Bailes, Wm.
  • Bailey, L. C.
  • Bailiff, C. O.
  • Ballow, W. J.
  • Banneker, Benjamin
  • Barnes, G. A. E.
  • Bashen, Janet
  • Bath, Patricia
  • Beard, A. J.
  • Becket, G. E
  • Bell, L.
  • Benjamin, L. W.
  • Benjamin, M. E.
  • Binga, M. W.
  • Blackburn, A. B.
  • Blair, Henry
  • Blue, L.
  • Booker, L. F.
  • Boone, Sarah
  • Bowman, H. A.
  • Boykin, Otis
  • Bradberry, Henrietta
  • Bradley, Benjamin
  • Brooks, C. B.
  • Brooks, Hallstead, and Page
  • Brown, Henry
  • Brown, L. F.
  • Brown, Marie Van Brittan
  • Burr, J. A.
  • Burridge & Marshman
  • Burwell, W.
  • Butler, R. A.
  • Butts, J. W.
  • Byrd, T. J.
  • Campbell, W. S.
  • Cargill, B. F.
  • Carrington, T. A.
  • Carruthers, George R.
  • Carter, W. C.
  • Carver, George Washington
  • Certain, J. M.
  • Cherry, M. A.
  • Church, T. S.
  • Clare, O. B.
  • Coates, R.
  • Cook, G.
  • Coolidge, J. S.
  • Cooper, A. R.
  • Cooper, J.
  • Cornwell, P. W.
  • Cosgrove, W. F.
  • Cotton, Donald J.
  • Cralle, A. L.
  • Creamer, H.
  • Crosthwait, David
  • Darkins, J. T.
  • Davis, I. D.
  • Davis, W. D.
  • Davis, W. R., Jr.
  • De Leon, Martha (Mary) Jones
  • Deitz, W. A.
  • Dickinson, J. H.
  • Dorsey, O.
  • Dorticus, C. J.
  • Downing, Gertrude E.
  • Downing, P. B.
  • Drew, Charles R. Md
  • Dunnington, J. H.
  • Edmonds, T. H.
  • Eglin, Ellen
  • Elder, Clarence
  • Elkins, T.
  • Evans, J. H.
  • Faulkner, H.
  • Ferrell, F. J.
  • Fisher, D. A.
  • Flemming, R. F., Jr.
  • Goode, Sarah E.
  • Gourdine, Meredith C.
  • Grant, G. F.
  • Grant, W. S.
  • Gray, R. H.
  • Gregory, J.
  • Grenon, H.
  • Griffin, F. W.
  • Gunn, S. W.
  • Haines, J. H.
  • Hall, Lloyd
  • Hammonds, J. F.
  • Harding, F. H.
  • Harney, M. C.
  • Harper, Solomon
  • Harris, Dr. Betty Wright
  • Hawkins, J.
  • Hawkins, Lincoln Walter
  • Hawkins, R.
  • Headen, M.
  • Hearness, R.
  • Hilyer, A. F.
  • Hodge, John
  • Holley, Kerrie L.
  • Holmes, Lydia M.
  • Hull, Wilson E.
  • Hyde, R. N.
  • Jackson, B. F.
  • Jackson, H. A.
  • Jackson, W. H.
  • Jennings, Thomas L.
  • Johnson, Anthony Dr.
  • Johnson, D.
  • Johnson, I. R.
  • Johnson, P.
  • Johnson, W.
  • Johnson, W. H.
  • Jones & Long
  • Jones, F. M.
  • Joyce, J. A.
  • Kelley, George W.
  • Latimer & Brown
  • Latimer & Nichols
  • Latimer & Tregoning
  • Latimer, L. H.
  • Lavalette, W. A.
  • Lee, H.
  • Lee, J.
  • Leslie, F. W.
  • Lewis, A. L.
  • Lewis, E. R.
  • Linden, H.
  • Little, E.
  • Long, A. E. And Jones, A. A.
  • Loudin, F. J.
  • Love, J. L.
  • Maceo West, James Edward
  • Marshall, W.
  • Marshman, Newman R.
  • Martin, Thomas J.
  • Martin, W. A.
  • Matzeliger, J. E.
  • McCoy & Hodges
  • McCoy, E. J.
  • McCree, D.
  • McLurkin, James
  • Mendenhall, A.
  • Miles, A.
  • Mitchell, C.L.
  • Mitchell, J. M.
  • Montgomery, Benjamin
  • Moody, W. U.
  • Morehead, K.
  • Morgan, Garrett
  • Murray, G. W.
  • Nance, L.
  • Nash, H. H.
  • Newman, L. D.
  • Newson, S.
  • Nichols & Latimer
  • Nickerson, W. J.
  • O’Conner & Turner
  • Outlaw J. W.
  • Parker, Alice H.
  • Perryman, F. R.
  • Peterson, H.
  • Phelps, W. H.
  • Pickering, J. F.
  • Pickett, H.
  • Pinn, T. B.
  • Polk, A. J.
  • Pugsley, A.
  • Purdy & Peters
  • Purdy & Sadgwar
  • Purdy, W.
  • Purvis, W. B.
  • Queen, W.
  • Ray, E. P.
  • Reed, Jusy
  • Reynolds, H. H.
  • Reynolds, R. R.
  • Rhodes, J. B.
  • Richardson, A. C.
  • Richardson, W. H.
  • Richey, C. V.
  • Rickman, A. L.
  • Ricks, J.
  • Rillieux, N.
  • Robinson, E. R.
  • Robinson, J. H.
  • Romain, A.
  • Ross, A. L.
  • Ross, J.
  • Roster, D. N.
  • Russell, L. A.
  • Sammons, W. H.
  • Sampson, G. T.
  • Scott, R. P.
  • Scottron, S. R.
  • Shanks, S. C.
  • Shorter, D. W.
  • Smith, J. H.
  • Smith, Mildred E.
  • Smith, P. D.
  • Snow & Johns
  • Spears, H.
  • Spikes, R. B.
  • Standard, J.
  • Steward & Johnson
  • Stewart, E. W.
  • Stewart, T. W.
  • Stokes, Rufus
  • Sutton, E. H.
  • Sweeting, J. A.
  • Taylor, B. H.
  • Temple, L.
  • Thomas, S. E.
  • Thomas, Valerie
  • Toliver, G.
  • Tregoning & Latimer
  • Turner, M. Turner
  • Walker, P.
  • Waller, J. N.
  • Washington, W.
  • Watkins, Isaac
  • Watts, J. R.
  • West, E. H.
  • West, J. W.
  • White, D. L.
  • White, J. T.
  • Williams, C.
  • Williams, J. P.
  • Winn, Frank
  • Winters, J. R.
  • Wood, J. F.
  • Woods, G. T.
  • Wormley, J.
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