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Famous Black Inventors

Famous black inventors - a database list of African American patent holders and individual biographies of African American inventors. Black History month and the historic contributions of black scientists and engineers. African American women in technology.
African American Patent Holders - Black Inventors
An extensive list of black inventors holding patents listed by name, patent date and invention with history. For more history use the A to Z entries below for individual black inventors.
Black Inventors A to Z
A to Z entries for individual black inventors - biography, major inventions, and photos.
Colors of Innovation - African American Innovators
Many familiar black inventors are discussed in this article along with a surprising amount of unfamiliar names in African American history.
The Origins of Black History Month
What we now call Black History Month was originated in 1926 by Carter Godwin Woodson as Negro History Week.
Black Myths or Black Facts
What is the truth about patents.
Black Inventors Facts and History
A daily newsletter with facts, tips, biographies, and more concerning black inventors.
Black Inventors Trivia Quiz
Test your knowledge about black inventors history with this trivia quiz.
George Edward Alcorn
Alcorn invented a new type of x-ray spectrometer.
Nathaniel Alexander
Invented an improved folding chair.
Virgie Ammons
Ammons invented a fireplace dampener.
Benjamin Banneker
His inventive spirit would lead him to be called the "first African American inventor." Banneker published a noted Farmers' Almanac.
Patricia Bath
The first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention.
Andrew Jackson Beard
Beard received a patent for a railroad car coupler and a rotary engine.
Andrew Jackson Beard - Patents
The original patent drawings of Andrew Jackson Beard.
Miriam E. Benjamin
Benjamin was the second black woman in history to receive a patent. She received a patent for an invention she called 'a Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels.'
Henry Blair
Henry Blair was the second black inventor in history to be issued a patent by the United States Patent Office.
Bessie Blount
Blount invented a device to help disabled persons eat.
Sarah Boone
An improvement to the ironing board (U.S. Patent #473,653) was invented by African American Sarah Boone on April 26, 1892.
Otis Boykin
Boykin invented an improved 'Electrical Resistor' used in computers, radios, television sets and a variety of electronic devices.
Charles Brooks
C. B. Brooks invented a street sweeper truck for which he was issued a patent on March 17, 1896.
Phil Brooks
Black inventor, Phil Brooks patented a disposable syringe.
Henry Brown
Henry Brown patented a "receptacle for storing and preserving papers on November 2, 1886" It was special in that it kept the papers separated. Perhaps an early forerunner in filofax history?
Marie Brown
Invented a video home survelance security system.
John Albert Burr
Patented an improved rotary blade lawn mower.
George Washington Carver
Agricultural chemist, George Washington Carver invented three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes. More than anyone else in history.
George Washington Carver - Help for the Hard Times - Pamphlet
George Washington Carver wrote the pamphlet Help for the Hard Times
George Carruthers
Carruthers was the black inventor of the far-ultraviolet camera and the spectrograph.
Benjamin S. Carson
Benjamin Carson was a pioneer in surgery technology
Emmett W. Chappelle
Chappelle was a biochemist, photobiologist, astrochemist and black inventor.
John Christian
John Christian invented and patented new lubricants used in high flying aircraft and NASA space missions.
Donald Cotton
Donald Cotton invented propellants for nuclear reactors.
David Crosthwait
Black inventor, David Crosthwait holds 39 patents for heating systems and temperature regulating devices. He is most well known for creating the heating system for New York City's famous Radio City Music Hall.
Mark Dean
Dean co-invented improvements in computer architecture that allowed IBM compatible PCs to use the same peripheral devices.
Ronald Demon
The famous inventor of the Smart Shoe - an athletic shoe whose cushion support automatically adjusts to suit the shape of the wearer's feet.
Joseph Hunter Dickinson
Invented several improvements to different musical instruments.
Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus
Invented an improved photographic print wash method.
Dr. Charles Richard Drew
Drew was the first person to develop the blood bank.
Thomas Elkins
African American inventor Thomas Elkins - view his three U.S. patents.
Philip Emeagwali
In 1989, Philip Emeagwali won the Gordon Bell Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for developing the fastest supercomputer software in the world.
James Forten
African American James Forten invented a sail hoist.
Sarah E. Goode
Sarah Goode was the first African American women to receive a patent (US #322,177), which was issued on July 14, 1885. She invented a type of cabinet bed.
Meredith C. Gourdine
Gourdine was the black inventor of electrogasdynamics systems.
George Grant
An improved tapered golf tee was patented in 1899 by George F. Grant.
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 flavorable.
Augustus Jackson
Augustus Jackson, a confectioner and businessman from Philadelphia, invented an ice cream recipe in 1832
Thomas L. Jennings
Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent (US patent3306x), which was issued on March 3rd, 1821.
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
Johnson invented the Super Soaker® a squirt gun and also invented thermodynamics systems on the side.
Willis Johnson
Willis Johnson patented an improved mechanical egg beater on February 5, 1884.
Frederick Jones
Jones invented the first automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks.
Marjorie Stewart Joyner
Joyner invented a permanent wave machine that would allow a hairdo to stay set for days.
Percy Lavon Julian
Julian synthesized the medicines physostigmine for glaucoma and cortisone used for rheumatoid arthritis and he invented fire-extinguishing equipment.
Ernest Everett Just
Dr. Just, an eminent marine biologist, was considered a leader and authority for his work with cell development.
Roscoe Koontz
Roscoe Koontz designed a pinhole gamma ray camera and collimator and helped to design and fabricate automatic air and water sampling equipment and radiation activity measuring devices.
Lewis Howard Latimer
Latimer invented the water closet for railroad cars, an electric lamp with an inexpensive carbon filament and a threaded wooden socket for light bulbs.
Joseph Lee
Lee patented two machines for the food service industry.
John Lee Love
The "Love Sharpener" was designed by African American John Lee Love. Love's invention is the very simple and portable pencil sharpener that many artists use today.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger
Black inventor, Jan Matzeliger invented an automatic method for lasting shoes, which made the mass production of affordable shoes possible.
Elijah McCoy
Black inventor, Elijah McCoy is best known for having invented the automatic oil cup. During his life, McCoy invented and sold 57 different kinds of devices and machine parts, including an ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. His first patent was for a lubricator for steam engines ( US #129,843), which was issued on July 12th, 1872.
Alexander Miles
Invented an improved elevator.
Garrett Morgan
Morgan invented a gas mask, a traffic signal, and several other inventions.
Lyda Newman
African American, Lyda Newman patented a new and improved brush.
Alice Parker
Alice Parker invented a new and improved gas heating furnace.
Traverse Benjamin Pinn
Traverse Benjamin Pinn invented an improved file holder.
Willam Purvis
Invented several inventions including an improved fountain pen.
Lloyd P Ray
African American, Lloyd Ray patented a new and useful improvement in dust pans.
Cordell Reed
Cordell Reed improved nuclear electric power.
Louis Roberts
Black inventor, Louis Roberts' research interests focused on microwave and optical techniques and components, plasma research, solid state component and circuit development.
Norbert Rillieux
Rillieux invented the sugar processing evaporator.
Walter Sammons
Invented an improved comb.
Henry Sampson
Invented a gamma-electrical cell.
Jerry Shelby
NASA engineer Jerry Shelby invented an engine protection system for a recoverable rocket booster.
Richard Spikes
Patented or developed many inventions.
John Standard
An improved refrigerator design was patented by African American inventor John Standard
Thomas Stewart
Stewart invented an improved mop, metal bender, and railroad crossing indicator.
Rufus Stokes
Rufus Stokes invented a exhaust purifier and an air pollution control device.
Lewis Temple
The toggle iron harpoon was designed in 1848 by Lewis Temple, an African American blacksmith, this was the standard harpoon in American whaling from the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries.
Valerie Thomas
Received a patent in 1980 for inventing an illusion transmitter.
John Henry Thompson
Invented lingo programming used in Macromedia Director and Shockwave.
Madame Walker
Madame Walker was a St. Louis washerwoman-turned-entrepreneur. Walker invented a method to soften and smooth African American hair in 1905.
James Edward West
Black inventor, James West holds 47 U.S. and more than 200 foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil-electrets.
John Thomas White
African American inventor John Thomas White patented a lemon squeezer in 1896.
Doctor Daniel Hale Williams
Doctor Daniel Hale Williams was a pioneer in open heart surgery.
Joseph Winters
Patented the fire escape ladder.
Granville Woods
African American, Granville Woods invented improvements to electric railways, air brakes, the telephone and the telegraph. He invented a chicken egg incubator and an apparatus for an amusement park ride.
Granville Woods - Patents
Photos of the inventions of Granville Woods.
Kevin Woolfolk
Invented the "The Hamster Workout Wheel", a small animal exercise wheel that records your pet's mileage or wheel revolutions.
African American Inventors Of Our Times
Several black inventors are discussed in this Invention Dimension article.
African American Women Inventors of the Early 20th Century
Socially significant personal care items invented by African American female inventors are discussed in this Invention Dimension article.
African American History Facts
This is a great place to search for all kinds of facts about African American history including black inventors.
Freep - African American History - Black Inventors
This article is from the Detroit Free Press and has shorts blurbs on different black inventors including: Dr. Charles Richard Drew (blood bank), Percy Julian (fire-fighting foam), Garrett Morgan (traffic signal) and more.
African American in Technology: Past and Present
Five black inventors are profiled in this article: Granville Woods, Lewis Latimer, Elijah McCoy, Garrett Morgan, Frederick Jones, and Jan Ernst Matzeliger.
Great African Americans You Should Know
From the Black Collegian Online, this article highlights several noteworthy African American inventors.
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