Walker pioneered the use of female sales agents, who traveled door to door across the U.S. and Caribbean selling her products. 10 Important Black Inventors in U.S. History. George Edward Alcorn Jr. (Born March 22, 1940). Charles Drew was a doctor and medical researcher whose pioneering research into blood helped save thousands of lives during World War II. Great Black Heroes Morgan later would invent one of the first traffic signals and a new clutch for auto transmissions. Walker pioneered the use of female sales agents, who traveled door to door across the U.S. and Caribbean selling her products. Inventors. Elijah McCoy was born in Canada to parents who had been enslaved in the U.S. Achievements by Black inventors can be seen as far back as ancient Africa but much of society has no idea that many of the products or devices that make their everyday lives more enjoyable are the result of the hard work and ingenuity of Blacks. Bellis, Mary. Black inventors like George Washington Carver, Madam C.J. The family resettled in Michigan a few years after Elijah was born, and the boy showed a keen interest in mechanical objects growing up. Being the first female scientist hired at General Electric, Blodgett figured out a way to transfer thin monomolecular coatings to glass and metals in 1935. Try using, The Book of Black Heroes: From A to Z, volume one by Wade Hudson and Valerie Wilson Wesley. Walker (December 23, 1867–May 25, 1919), George Washington Carver (1861–January 5, 1943), Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731–October 9, 1806), Charles Drew (June 3, 1904–April 1, 1950), Thomas L. Jennings (1791–February 12, 1856), Elijah McCoy (May 2, 1844–October 10, 1929), Garrett Morgan (March 4, 1877–July 27, 1963), James Edward Maceo West (Born February 10, 1931). He continued to research, teach, and advocate until his death in 1950 in a car accident. Throughout history, and now into the 21st century, famous women inventors have played a vital role in the world of innovation. If you've ever used a microphone, you have James West to thank for it. Great Female Inventors ThoughtCo, Feb. 28, 2021, thoughtco.com/black-inventors-through-the-years-4145354. George Edward Alcorn, Jr. at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Biography of Elijah McCoy, American Inventor, 16 Black Americans in Astronomy and Space, Black Business Owners in the Jim Crow Era, Biography of Garrett Morgan, Inventor of the Gas Mask, Black History and Women's Timeline: 1900–1919, John Dunlop, Charles Goodyear, and the History of Tires, 10 of the Most Important Black Women in U.S. History, Madame C.J. Thomas Jennings holds the distinction of being the first Black American to be granted a patent. Such devices were more sensitive, yet they used less power and were smaller than other microphones at the time, and they revolutionized the field of acoustics. In 1916, he earned widespread acclaim after donning his safety hood to rescue workers who were trapped by an explosion in a tunnel beneath Lake Erie near Cleveland. Their contributions are chronicled and the inventors are profiled, providing information for students and others interested in these pioneers of Black History. If possible, show pictures of the Black inventors you discuss. Here is a list of some of the most influential African-American inventors in history. It's racked up more than $1 billion in sales since its release. "10 Important Black Inventors in U.S. Bellis, Mary. Born Sarah Breedlove, Madame C.J. Unlike black slaves, free blacks prior to the Civil War were entitled to receive patents for their inventions. Benjamin Banneker was a self-educated astronomer, mathematician, and farmer. Dr. Lonnie Johnson, president and CEO at Excellatron, is probably best known as the inventor of the Super Soaker. Garrett Morgan is best known for his invention in 1914 of the safety hood, a precursor to the gas mask. Jackson, a theoretical physicist, was the first black woman to be awarded a Ph.D. from MIT, in 1973. He was among a few hundred free Black Americans living in Maryland, where enslavement was legal at the time. George Washington Carver became one of the leading agronomists of his time, pioneering numerous uses for peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. Historical marker honoring Benjamin Banneker at Benjamin Banneker School, Oella, Maryland, 1979. An engineer by training, Johnson has worked on both the stealth bomber project for the Air Force and the Galileo space probe for NASA. The following are … Many black inventors have struggled with hardship, poverty and, in some circumstances, slavery, to prove their genius to the world. (2021, February 28). Office of Naval Research / Flickr / CC-BY-2.0. Access a recording of this special event spotlighting three contemporary Black women inventors: Aprille Ericsson, Ayanna Howard, and Arlyne Simon.. Drew worked briefly with the American Red Cross during World War II, but he resigned to protest the organization's insistence on segregating blood from White and Black donors. Scientists, engineers, and inventors find the solutions to the world's problems. Here are 12 names of famous women inventors whose ingenious inventions surpassed their time and expected abilities. As the first Black undergraduate student at Iowa State, he studied soybean fungi and developed new means of crop rotation. In fact, women have become increasingly prevalent in the field and are responsible for such momentous advances as windshield wipers, disposable diapers, the first computer language and the Mars Rover. George Washington Carver donated $33,000 in cash to the Tuskegee Institute to establish a fund to carry on the agricultural and chemical work he began. Learn about the work that these Black scientists and inventors have accomplished that make our lives better. U.S. National Library of Medicine / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. Walker became the first Black woman millionaire by inventing a line of cosmetics and hair products aimed at Black consumers in the first decades of the 20th century. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/black-inventors-through-the-years-4145354. Sonavi Labs / Wikimedia Commons /  CC-BY-SA-4.0. Black Inventors. After training as an engineer in Scotland as a teen, he returned to the U.S. George Edward Alcorn Jr. is a physicist whose work in the aerospace industry helped revolutionize astrophysics and semiconductor manufacturing. His invention made Jennings a wealthy man and he used his earnings to support early anti-enslavement activism and civil rights organizations. After earning his master's degree, Carver accepted a job at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute, a leading historically Black university. Walker became the first Black woman millionaire by inventing a line of cosmetics and hair products aimed at Black consumers in the first decades of the 20th century. After college, he went to work at Bell Labs, where research on how humans hear led to his invention of the foil electret microphone in 1960. Alcorn's research into plasma etching, for which he received a patent in 1989, is still used in the production of computer chips, also known as semiconductors. Morgan was so confident of his invention's potential that he frequently demonstrated it himself in sales pitches to fire departments across the country. Author: The achievements of a selection of pioneering black scientists, including Banneker and Carver, are outlined in the list of African American Scientists below. Inventor Lonnie Johnson holds more than 80 U.S. patents, but it's his invention of the Super Soaker toy that is perhaps his most endearing claim to fame. This volume contains large black and white photographs of 50 heroes and heroines. 10 Black Inventors Who Changed Your Life From hair care products to the ironing board, the creations from these African Americans still impact your everyday life. Minnie Lenore Robbins with NIH Director Donald Frederickson at the unveiling of a bust and exhibit honoring her late husband, Charles Drew, in 1981. History." As a postgraduate researcher at Columbia University in the late 1930s, Drew invented a means of separating plasma from whole blood, allowing it to be stored for up to a week, far longer than had been possible at the time. Black History Moments Unable to find a job in engineering because of racial discrimination, McCoy found work as a railroad fireman. https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/madamecjwalker01.jpg, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/biomlogo350.png, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/marjoriejoyner01.jpg, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/miriambenjamin01.jpg, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/patriciabath07.jpg, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nophotofemale1.jpg, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/sarahgoode01.jpg, https://blackinventor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/valeriethomas01.jpg, © Copyright 1998-2021 - Adscape International, LLC -. He also developed a means of harnessing solar and geothermal energy for power plants. Born Sarah Breedlove, Madame C.J. Bad Fads Museum Bellis, Mary. History of Spies These 10 innovators are just a few of the many Black Americans who have made important contributions to business, industry, medicine, and technology. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. The Black Inventor Online Museum ™, is a look at the great and often unrecognized pioneers in the field of invention and innovation. The Black Inventor Online Museum is the #1 resource on the web focusing on the ingenuity and accomplishments of the top Black inventors over the last 300 years. Walker, Lonnie G. Johnson, Garrett Morgan and Patricia Bath are among history's most revered geniuses. Discover surprising insights and little-known facts about politics, literature, science, and the marvels of the natural world. McCoy continued to refine this and other inventions during his lifetime, receiving 60 patents. Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. Famous Inventors. Professional Wrestling Online Museum. https://www.thoughtco.com/black-inventors-through-the-years-4145354 (accessed April 8, 2021). Talk with young children about important African American figures in American history. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. Johns Hopkins School of Engineering Professor Dr. James Edward Maceo West featured with a prototype of his research group's latest invention, a smart digital stethoscope with artificial intelligence algorithms. Banneker also had a small role in helping to survey Washington, D.C., in 1791. Today, foil electret-style mics are used in everything from telephones to computers. A tailor by trade in New York City, Jennings applied for and received a patent in 1821 for a cleaning technique he'd pioneered called "dry scouring." Active in the early civil rights movement, he helped found one of the first Black American newspapers in Ohio, the Cleveland Call. ThoughtCo. Enslaved from birth in Missouri in the midst of the Civil War, Carver was fascinated by plants from an early age. Perhaps his best-known innovation is for an X-ray spectrometer used to analyze distant galaxies and other deep-space phenomena, which he patented in 1984. Patents offer a unique lens through which to view history. History." Invented a "Gong and Signal" chair for hotels. It was at Tuskegee that Carver made his greatest contributions to science, developing more than 300 uses for the peanut alone, including soap, skin lotion, and paint. Discover the men and women behind some of the most famous inventions and innovations of history. The Black Inventor Online Museum ™, is a look at the great and often unrecognized pioneers in the field of invention and innovation.. It was while working in that role that he developed a new means of keeping locomotive engines lubricated while running, allowing them to operate longer between maintenance. "10 Important Black Inventors in U.S. Black women throughout American history have impacted and contributed to our nation’s culture of innovation. It was a precursor to today's dry cleaning. Achievements by Black inventors can be seen as far back as ancient Africa but much of society has no idea that many of the products or devices that make their everyday lives more enjoyable are the result of the hard work and ingenuity of Blacks. Among his many accomplishments, Banneker is perhaps best known for a series of almanacs he published between 1792 and 1797 that contained detailed astronomical calculations of his, as well as writings on topics of the day. West was fascinated by radio and electronics from an early age, and he trained as a physicist. An active philanthropist, Walker also was an early champion of employee development and offered business training and other educational opportunities to her workers as a means of helping other Black women achieve financial independence. He is credited with 20 inventions, eight of which he received patents for. The Super Soaker, first patented in 1986, is his most popular invention. Research almost any famous historical or current inventor with these biographies, A-to-Z lists, photo galleries, and timelines. By tracing the technologies patents protect—or once protected—as well as the inventors listed on those patents, an image of the past emerges. Drew also discovered that plasma could be transfused between persons regardless of blood type and helped the British government establish its first national blood bank.