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Black Inventors

NSBE TMAL - Black Inventors History
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George Alcorn
Invented a method of fabricating an imaging X-ray spectrometer
Nathaniel Alexander
On July 7, 1911 Nathaniel Alexander patented the folding chair to be used in schools, churches, and auditoriums
Virgie Ammons
Invented a device for dampening fireplaces
Benjamin Banneker
Invented the first clock
Augustin Banyaga
Work on Diffeomorphisms and Symplectomorphisms
Janet Emerson Bashen
In January 2006, Bashen became the first African- American to hold a patent for a software invention. The patented software, LinkLine, is a web-based application for EEO claims intake and tracking, claims management, document management and numerous reports.
Patricia Bath
Patricia Bath's patent (#4,744,360) was for a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device making the procedure more accurate.
Andrew Jack Beard
In 1881, he patented his first invention, a plow, and sold the patent rights for $4,000 in 1884. In 1887, Andrew Beard patented a second plow and sold it for $5,200. In 1892, he patented a rotary engine. In 1897, Andrew Beard patented an improvement to railroad car couplers commonly called the Jenny Coupler
Miriam E. Benjamin
Miriam Benjamin received a patent for an invention she called a Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels on July 17, 1888. Her invention allowed hotel customer to summon a waiter from the comfort of their chair. A button on the chair would buzz the waiters' station and a light on the chair would let the wait staff know who wanted service.
Edmond Berger
Edmond Berger invented an early spark plug on February 2, 1839
David Harold Blackwell
The theorem is the Rao-Blackwell theorem, which is a statistical and estimator theory. He is not only famous for his works with estimators and statistics, but in his works in game theory and textbook writing.
Henry Blair
Second Black inventor to receive a patent. He received a patent on October 14, 1834 for a seed planter and a patent in 1836 for a cotton planter.
Bessie Blount
Bessie Blount's war service inspired her to patent a device, in 1951, that allowed amputees to feed themselves. The electrical device allowed a tube to deliver one mouthful of food at a time to a patient in a wheelchair or in a bed whenever he or she bit down on the tube. She later invented a portable receptacle support that was a simpler and smaller version of the same, designed to be worn around a patient's neck.
Sarah Boone
Sarah Boone, patented an improvement to the ironing board (U.S. Patent #473,653) on April 26, 1892. Sarah Boone's ironing board was designed to be effective in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies' garments.
Otis Boykin
Otis Boykin is best known for inventing an improved electrical resistor used in computers, radios, television sets and a variety of electronic devices.
Edward Bouchet
The first african american to earn a PhD from an american university and the first african american to graduate from Yale university in 1874
Charles Brooks
Charles Brooks of Newark, New Jersey invented improvements to street sweeper trucks that he patented on March 17, 1896. His truck had revolving brushes attached to the front fender and the brushes were interchangeable with scrapers that could be used in winter for snow removal.
Phil Brooks
African American inventor Phil Brooks, received a U.S. patent for a "Disposable Syringe" #3,802,434 on April 9, 1974.
Henry Brown
Henry Brown patented a "receptacle for storing and preserving papers on November 2, 1886" This was a fire and accident safe container made of forged metal, which could be sealed with a lock and key. It was special in that it kept the papers separated.
Marie Brown
The first video home security system was patented (patent #3,482,037) on December 2, 1969 to Marie Brown. The system used television surveillance.
Robert Bryant
Robert Bryant headed the team that invented Soluble Imide (LaRC-SI) the self-bonding thermoplastic that received an R&D 100 award for being one of the most significant new technical products of 1994.
John Albert Burr
On May 9, 1899, John Albert Burr patented an improved rotary blade lawn mower. Burr designed a lawn mower with traction wheels and a rotary blade that was designed to not easily get plugged up from lawn clippings
George Washington Carver
As an agricultural chemist, Carver discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were his recipes and improvements to/for: adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder and wood stain.
George Carruthers
Dr. George Carruthers received a patent for his invention the "Image Converter for Detecting Electromagnetic Radiation specially in Short Wave Lengths" on November 11, 1969
Benjamin S. Carson
In 1987, he gained world-wide recognition as the principal surgeon in the twenty-two hour separation of the Binder Siamese twins from Germany.
Emmett W. Chappelle
In 1977, Chappelle turned his research efforts toward the remote sensing of vegetation health through laser-induced fluorescence (LIF). Working with scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, he advanced the development of LIF as a sensitive means of detecting plant stress.
John Christian
6/30/1970 #3,518,189 - Grease composition for use at high temperatures and high speeds.
10/27/1970 #3,536,624 - Grease compositions of fluorocarbon polyethers thickened with polyfluorophenylene polymers.
5/12/1981 #4,267,348 - Fluorine-containing benzimidazoles
6/12/1984 #4,454,349 - Perfluoroalkylether substituted phenyl phosphines
Donald Cotton
Donald Cotton invented propellants for nuclear reactors.
Elbert Frank Cox
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David Crosthwait
Apparatus , for returning water to boilers, Method and apparatus for setting thermostats, Differential vacuum pump, Steam trap, Automatic discharge valve, Freezing temperature indicator, Refrigerating method and apparatus, Exhausting mechanism, Bucket trap, Refrigerating method and apparatus, Method of steam heating from central station mains, Refrigerating apparatus and process, Vacuum pump, Steam heating system, Steam heating apparatus, Vacuum heating system, Remote control proportional movement motor, Method of heating, Effective temperature thermostat, Effective temperature control
apparatus, Exhausting method and apparatus, One pipe heating system regulating plate, Regulating radiator valve
Mark Dean
Mark Dean and his co-inventor Dennis Moeller created a microcomputer system with bus control means for peripheral processing devices.
Ronald Demon
Ronald Demon was issued US patent #5,813,142 for a "shoe sole with an adjustable support pattern." An athletic show marketed under the name of Smart Shoe.
Dr. Joseph J. Dennis, PhD
Joseph J. Dennis was an American mathematician and served as the chairman of the Clark College mathematics department from 1930 to 1974. He earned his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 1944.
Wade Ellis, Sr
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Joseph Hunter Dickinson
Joseph Dickinson invented an improvement to player pianos that provided better actuation - the loudness or softness of the key strikes; and could play the sheet music from any point in the song.
Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus
Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus of Newton, New Jersey invented an improved photographic print and negative wash machine
Charles Drew
Invented the blood bank
Philip Emeagwali
In 1989 Philip invented the supercomputer
Etta Zuber Falconer
Etta Zuber Falconer was an educator and mathematician who was one of the first African-American women to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics.
Sarah E. Goode
Sarah Goode was the first African American women to receive a U.S. patent. Patent #322,177 was issued on July 14, 1885 for a cabinet bed. Sarah Goode was the owner of a Chicago furniture store. Below you can view the patent issued to Sarah Goode.
Meredith C. Gourdine
Meredith Invented the Electrogasdynamic coating system,
George Grant
George Grant, an avid golfer, was also interested in the physics of golfing. He set about to improve the game of golf and as a result he received U.S. patent No. 638,920 on December 12, 1899 for an improved golf tee.
Evelyn Boyd Granville
Evelyn Boyd Granville was the second African-American woman in the U.S. to receive a PhD in mathematics.
Lloyd Augustus Hall
Lloyd Hall is responsible for the meat curing products, seasonings, emulsions, bakery products, antioxidants, protein hydrolysates, and many other products that keep our food fresh and favorable.
Jocelyn Harrison
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Augustus Jackson
African American, Augustus Jackson was a candy confectioner from Philadelphia who created several ice cream recipes and invented an improved method of manufacturing ice cream around 1832.
Thomas L. Jennings
Thomas Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent, on March 3, 1821 (U.S. patent3306x). Thomas Jennings' patent was for a dry-cleaning process called "dry scouring".
Clifford Victor Johnson
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Jack Johnson
The world's first African American heavyweight champion patented a wrench (U.S.patent#1,413,121) on April the 18th, 1922.
Lonnie Johnson
The Super Soaker ® was invented in 1988 under the original name of the "Power Drencher" and a whole new era of power water squirters began. Invented by Lonnie Johnson, an Aerospace Engineer from Los Angeles, California, the Power Drencher was the first water blaster to incorporate air pressure into its design.
Raymond L. Johnson
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Willis Johnson
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Fredrick Jones
Frederick Jones patented more than sixty inventions, however, he is best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks in 1935 (a roof-mounted cooling device).
Marjorie Stewart Joyner
Majorie Joyner, invented a permanent wave machine. This device, patented in 1928, curled or "permed" women's hair for a relatively lengthy period of time. The wave machine was popular among women white and black allowing for longer-lasting wavy hair styles.
Percy Lavon Julian
Percy Julian synthesized physostigmine for treatment of glaucoma; and synthesized cortisone for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Percy Julian is also noted for inventing a fire-extinguishing foam for gasoline and oil fires.
Everett Just
Ernest Just's research made advancements in the following areas:
-egg fertilization
-experimental parthenogenesis
-hydration
-cell division
-dehydration in living cells
-the effects of ultraviolet rays in -increasing chromosome numbers in animals
-the effects of ultraviolet rays in -altering the organization of the egg with reference to polarity
Roscoe Koontz
Roscoe L Koontz designed a pinhole gamma ray camera called the collimator, and helped to design and fabricate automatic air and water radiation activity measuring devices.
Lewis Howard Latimer
Latimer's talent for drafting and his creative genius led him to invent a method of making carbon filaments for the Maxim electric incandescent lamp. In 1881, he supervised the installation of the electric lights in New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London.
Joseph Lee
African American inventor, Joseph Lee (1849 - 1905) invented new and useful improvements to the dough-kneading machine (U.S. patent #524,042 8/7/1894). His machine was intended for use in large houses or hotels. Lee also patented a machine for making bread crumbs (U.S. patent #540,553 6/4/1895).
John Lee Love
John Lee Love's invention was a very simple and portable pencil sharpener. The same kind of pencil sharpener that many artists use or that can be found in an office or school room. John Lee Love's pencil sharpener was patented on November 23, 1897 (U.S. Patent # 594,114).
Jan Ernst Matzeliger
The shoe lasting machine adjusts the shoe leather upper snugly over the mold, arranges the leather under the sole and pins it in place with nails while the sole is stitched to the leather upper.
Elijah McCoy
Elijah McCoy was issued his first patent - US patent #129,843 - on July 12th, 1872 for his improvement in lubricators for steam engines.
Alexander Miles
Alexander Miles patented an electric elevator (U.S. pat#371,207) on October 11, 1887. Alexander Miles improved the method of the opening and closing of elevator doors; and he improved the closing of the opening to the elevator shaft when an elevator was not on that floor. Alexander Miles created an automatic mechanism that closed access to the shaft.
Kelly Miller
Kelly Miller (July 23, 1863 - December 29, 1939) was an African-American mathematician, sociologist, essayist, newspaper columnist, author, and an important figure in the intellectual life of black America for close to half a century.
Ruth Miro
Ruth Miro has been issued U.S. patent #6,113,298 for a paper ring and patent #6,764,100 for a stationery organizer.
Garrett Morgan
Garrett Morgan was an inventor and businessman from Cleveland who is best known for inventing a device called the Morgan safety hood and smoke protector in 1914.
Lyda Newman
African American, Lyda Newman of New York, New York patented a new and improved hair brush on November 15, 1898. Lydia Newman designed a brush that was easy to keep clean, very durable and easy to make, and provided ventilation during brushing by having recessed air chambers.
Alice Parker
In 1919, Alice Parker of Morristown, New Jersey, invented a new and improved gas heating furnace that provided central heating.
Traverse Benjamin Pinn
Traverse Benjamin Pinn received a US patent number 231,355 for an improved "File Holder" on August 17, 1880.
William Purvis
William Purvis of Philadelphia invented and patented improvements to the fountain pen in 1890. William Purvis made several improvements to the fountain pen in order to make a "more durable, inexpensive, and better pen to carry in the pocket." Purvis used an elastic tube between the pen nib and the ink reservoir that used a suction action to return any excess ink to the ink reservoir, reducing ink spills and increasing the longevity of the ink
Lloyd P Ray
African American inventor, Lloyd Ray, patented a new and useful improvement in dust pans. Lloyd Ray invented a device with a metal collection plate attached to a short wooden handle in which trash could be swept into, without getting one's hands dirty. Below you can view the patent issued to Lloyd Ray.
Charles Reason
Charles Lewis Reason was a mathematician, linguist, and educator. He became the first African-American university professor at a predominately white college in the US, teaching at New York Central College, McGrawville.
Cordell Reed
Cordell Reed is the Assistant Vice President of the Commonwealth Edison Company of Chicago, in charge of nuclear licensing and environmental activities. Reed has been with the company since 1960, starting as an engineer assigned to the design, construction and operation of coal-fired generating stations. In 1967, he transferred to the nuclear division, with the task of developing more efficient and productive power plants
Louis Roberts
Louis W Roberts invented a gaseous discharge device.
Norbert Rillieux
Norbert Rillieux inventing a sugar processing evaporator and an improved sugar refining process that safely saved time and money in the making of sugar from sugar beets or sugar cane.
Walter Sammons
Walter Sammons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received U.S. patent #1,362,823 on December 21, 1920 for an improved comb that straightened hair. According to Walter Sammons' patent he invented a heated comb that removed kinks from the hair.
Henry Sampson
African American inventor Henry Sampson is a brilliant and accomplished nuclear physicist who invented a Gamma-Electrical Cell. Henry Sampson's patent (US 3,591,860) can be viewed in its entirety online or in person at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Jerry Shelby
NASA engineer, Jerry Shelby invented an engine protection system for recoverable rocket booster and received U.S. patent # 5,328,132 on July 12, 1994.
Richard Spikes
railroad semaphore (1906)
automatic car washer (1913)
automobile directional signals (1913) - manufactured by Pierce Arrow
John Standard
An improved refrigerator design was patented by African American inventor John Standard of Newark, New Jersey on June 14 1891 (U.S. patent #455,891). John Standard was also received U.S. patent #413,689 on October 29 1889 for an improved oil stove.
Clarence F. Stephens
Clarence F. Stephens (born July 24, 1917) was the ninth African American to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics. He is credited with inspiring students and faculty at SUNY Potsdam to form the most successful United States undergraduate mathematics degree programs in the past century
Thomas Stewart
Thomas Stewart of Kalamazoo, Michigan, patented a new type of mop (U.S. patent #499,402) on June 11, 1893. Thomas Stewart had invented a clamping mop that could wring the water out of itself by the use of a lever.
Lee Stiff
Lee Vernon Stiff (born 1949) is an American mathematics education researcher, a professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at North Carolina State University,[1] and the author of several mathematics textbooks.
Rufus Stokes
The system benefited the respiratory health of people, but also eased the health risks to plants and animals. A side-effect of reduced industrial stack emissions was the improved appearance and durability of buildings, cars, and objects exposed to outdoor pollution for lengthy periods.
#3,378,24 issued on 14/16/1968 for an exhaust purifier
#3,520,113 issued on 7/14/1970 for an air pollution control device
Lewis Temple
The toggle iron harpoon was designed in 1848 by Lewis Temple, a blacksmith, this was the standard harpoon in American whaling from the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries. The toggle iron harpoon was also called "Temple's Toggle" and "Temple's Iron".
Valerie Thomas
Valerie Thomas received a patent in 1980 for inventing an illusion transmitter. This futuristic invention extends the idea of television, with its images located flatly behind a screen, to having three dimensional projections appear as though they were right in your living room.
John Henry Thompson
John Thompson invented lingo programming used in Macromedia Director and Shockwave. According John Thompson, "Lingo is a scripting language in the Macromedia Director authoring tool. The content created with Macromedia Director is delivered on the World Wide Web as shockwave movies."
Madame CJ Walker
Madame C J Walker created and was responsible for the creation of two inventions. The first was called Madame Walkers Wonderful Hair Grower. It was used to treat dry scalps. She also created a marketing strategy known as The Walker System. It is very successful.
James Edward West
African American inventor John Thomas White of New York, New York received a patent for an improved lemon squeezer on December 8, 1896 (filed on March 21, 1896). Below you can view the patent issued to John Thomas White.
John Thomas White
African American inventor John Thomas White of New York, New York received a patent for an improved lemon squeezer on December 8, 1896 (filed on March 21, 1896). Below you can view the patent issued to John Thomas White.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
African American Doctor Daniel Hale Williams is credited with having performed open heart surgery on July 9, 1893 before such surgeries were established. In 1913, Daniel Hale Williams Williams was the only African American member of the American College of Surgeons.
Paul E. Williams
On November 26th, 1962, African American inventor, Paul E. Williams patented a helicopter, Lockheed Model 186 (XH-51). It was a compound experimental helocopter and only 3 units were built.
J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.
Jesse Ernest Wilkins, Jr. was an African American nuclear scientist, engineer, mathematician, who gained first fame on entering the University of Chicago at age 13, becoming its youngest ever student.[2][3][4] His intelligence led to him being referred to as a "negro genius" in the media.
Joseph Winters
On May 7, 1878, the fire escape ladder was patented by Joseph Winters. Joseph Winters invented a wagon-mounted fire escape ladder for the city of Chambersburg, PA.
Granville Woods
To some he was known as the "Black Edison, both great inventors of their time. Granville T Woods invented more than a dozen devices to improve electric railway cars and many more for controlling the flow of electricity
Stanley Woodard
August 14, 2007, Wireless fluid level measuring system
A level-sensing probe positioned in a tank is divided into sections with each section including (i) a fluid-level capacitive sensor disposed along the length thereof, (ii) an inductor electrically coupled to the capacitive sensor, (iii) a sensor antenna positioned for inductive
Kevin Woolfolk
Kevin Woolfolk of Normal, Illinois invented the "The Hamster Workout Wheel", a small animal exercise wheel that records your pet's mileage or wheel revolutions.
Dr. Mae C. Jemison
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Dr. Patricia Bath
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Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes
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Dr. Betty Harris
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Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson
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Bessie Coleman
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Dr. Ida Stephens Owens
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Thomas Elkins
An improved refrigerator design was patented by African American inventor Thomas Elkins of Albany, New York. One unusual fact about Thomas Elkins' refrigerator was that it was also designed to chill human corpses.