Black Inventors And Inventions
In order to have a full appreciation of the contributions of African Americans to our society in culture, it is important to recognize the role of black inventors and inventions. Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans have invented a large number of very important inventions that have changed life as we know it.
- George Washington Carver One of the most famous black inventors is, of course, George Washington Carver, famous for his experiments and products made from peanuts and sweet potatoes. He graduated from what is now Iowa State University and was immensely talented and successful even before his graduation. In addition to his work in agriculture (he encouraged crop rotation), this inventor developed a number of products from various plants and was recognized with numerous awards.
- Benjamin Banneker Born in 1731, this black inventor was responsible for putting together the first clock built in North America and, perhaps just as importantly, for drawing up plans for streets and other elements that were the basis of the city of Washington, D.C. He was also a fierce champion of the rights of African Americans and corresponded extensively on the subject with Thomas Jefferson.
- Elijah McCoy Everyone knows the expression “the real McCoy,” but fewer may realize that it stems from this extraordinary African American inventor. He developed an automated lubricating cup for use in trains, patented his invention, and was soon swamped with orders from various railroad companies requesting the device. He also created and patented a portable ironing board and the lawn sprinkler. He died in 1929.
- Garrett Morgan Although this inventor began his career in a clothing shop, Garrett Morgan turned his attention to invention after he inadvertently discovered the first human hair straightener. He was also responsible for the development of the gas mask, which soon became one of the most used devices that he had ever invented, with orders coming in from police companies and others. He was also responsible for the development of the traffic light, without which our modern world would not be the same.
- George Edward Alcorn, Jr. George Alcorn proved from an early age that he was an able student, quickly rising to the front of his class. As a result of his committment to excellence, he soon became one of the foremost inventors in the aerospace field. In addition to inventing an X-Ray spectrometer, he also conducted a number of experiments on a variety of space stations, earning himself his venerable position among the foremost inventors in aerospace science and technology.