10 Amazing Black Inventions!

 Black Inventors and their inventions

A very important part of the Rastafari Livity is to know your history and to take pride in who you are. You will not feel very proud, if the only accomplishments you are aware of are contributions and successes by other nations. Here is  a list of 10 Great black inventors and their inventions….

The Traffic Signal!

Garrett Augustus Morgan

The son of former slaves, Garett Morgan was born in 1877 in Kentucky. He later moved to Cincinnati and then Cleveland, where he owned and operated a sewing-machine repair business and earned quite a reputation as a technician. A multi-talented businessman. Before The invention of the Traffic Signal by Mr. there were lots of accidents involving motor vehicles. Mr. Morgan felt compelled to create a device that would prevent such situations. The Traffic signal was pattented on November 23 1923. The rights to his invention to General Electric. Isn’t that amazing. (Red Yellow and Green) Ras Tafari


The Gas Mask

But Morgan’s most prolific accomplishments came in his role as an inventor. He received a patent for the first gas mask invention in 1914, but it wasn’t until two years later that the idea really took off. When a group of workers got stuck in a tunnel below Lake Erie after an explosion, Morgan and a team of men donned the masks to help get them out. After the rescue was a success, requests for the masks began pouring in.

The Lawn Sprinkler & The portable Ironing Board

Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy (1844-1929), was born in Colchester, Ontario, on May 2, 1844. His mother and father were George and Emillia McCoy. They were slaves from Kentucky who escaped through the Underground Railroad. Elijah McCoy invented the portable ironing board, rubber shoe heels, tire tread, and lawn sprinkler, to name a few. Many inventors tried to sell imitations of the devices that Elijah invented, but companies wanted the real items, that’s how the term “the real McCoy” came to be.

 The First Clock

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker, born November 9, 1731, created the first Clock. Apparently using as a pocket watch as a model, Banneker carved wooden replicas of each piece and used the parts to make a clock that struck hourly. He completed the clock in 1753, at the age of 22. The clock continued to work until his death.

3D Glasses

Kenneth Dunkley

Kenneth Dunkley earned a significant place in the history of black inventors by creating Three Dimensional Viewing Glasses (3-DVG). This patented invention Born in Karsalona, New Mexico and was born in December 12,1966.He is still living today and is the president of Holospace Labarotories Inc. in Camp Hill,Pennsylvania.

Home security inventions

Marie Van Brittan Brown

While home security systems today are more advanced than ever, back in 1966 the idea for a home surveillance device seemed almost unthinkable. That was the year famous African-American inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown, and her partner Albert Brown, applied for an invention patent for a closed-circuit television security system – the forerunner to the modern home security system.

Brown’s system had a set of four peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look out each one. Anything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. An additional feature of Brown’s invention was that a person also could unlock a door with a remote control.

A female black inventor far ahead of her time, Marie Van Brittan Brown created an invention that was the first in a long string of home-security inventions that continue to flood the market today.

Potato Chips

George Crum

Every time a person crunches into a potato chip, he or she is enjoying the delicious taste of one of the world’s most famous snacks – a treat that might not exist without the contribution of black inventor George Crum.

The son of an African-American father and a Native American mother, Crum was working as the chef in the summer of 1853 when he incidentally invented the chip. It all began when a patron who ordered a plate of French-fried potatoes sent them back to Crum’s kitchen because he felt they were too thick and soft.

To teach the picky patron a lesson, Crum sliced a new batch of potatoes as thin as he possibly could, and then fried them until they were hard and crunchy. Finally, to top them off, he added a generous heaping of salt. To Crum’s surprise, the dish ended up being a hit with the patron and a new snack was born!

Years later, Crum opened his own restaurant that had a basket of potato chips on every table. Though Crum never attempted to patent his invention, the snack was eventually mass-produced and sold in bags – providing thousands of jobs nationwide.

The Blood Bank

Dr.Charles Drew

It’s impossible to determine how many hundreds of thousands of people would have lost their lives without the contributions of African-American inventor Dr. Charles Drew. This physician, researcher and surgeon revolutionized the understanding of blood plasma – leading to the invention of blood banks.

Born in 1904 in Washington, D.C., Charles Drew excelled from early on in both intellectual and athletic pursuits. After becoming a doctor and working as a college instructor, Drew went to Columbia University to do his Ph.D. on blood storage. He completed a thesis titled Banked Blood that invented a method of separating and storing plasma, allowing it to be dehydrated for later use. It was the first time Columbia awarded a doctorate to an African-American.

At the onset of World War II, Drew was called upon to put his techniques into practice. He emerged as the leading authority on mass transfusion and processing methods, and went on to helm the American Red Cross blood bank. When the Armed Forces ordered that only Caucasian blood be given to soldiers, Drew protested and resigned.

The Super Soaker

Lonnie G. Johnson

An anonymous source said of the Super Soaker®: “I got fired from a job once because of my Super Soaker. I guess that’s what happens when you accidentally drench a customer when you’re trying to get a co-worker who ducks.”

Famous black inventor and scientist Lonnie G. Johnson probably didn’t have that little scenario in mind when he invented the Super Soaker squirt gun, but it is one of the countless memories that can be recalled by those who were young enough to enjoy the Super Soaker after its release in 1989.

Johnson’s resume boasts work with the US Air Force and NASA (including work on the Galileo Jupiter probe and Mars Observer project), a nomination for astronaut training and more than 40 patents, but it’s for a squirt gun that he’s best known. Johnson conceived of a novelty water gun powered by air pressure in 1982 when he conducted an experiment at home on a heat pump that used water instead of Freon. This experimentation, which resulted in Johnson shooting a stream of water across his bathroom into the tub, led directly to the development of the Power Drencher, the precursor to the Super Soaker.

Lonnie G. Johnson now has his own company, Johnson Research and Development, and continues to do work for NASA.

Long Distance Cargo Refrigeration System

Fredrick McKinley

 Anytime you see a truck on the highway transporting refrigerated or frozen food, you’re seeing the work of Frederick McKinley Jones.

One of the most prolific Black inventors ever, Jones patented more than 60 inventions in his lifetime. While more than 40 of those patents were in the field of refrigeration, Jones is most famous for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long haul trucks and railroad cars.

Before Jones’ invention, the only way to keep food cool in trucks was to load them with ice. Jones was inspired to invent the system after talking with a truck driver who lost his whole cargo of chicken because he couldn’t reach his destination before the ice melted. As a solution, the African-American inventor developed a roof-mounted cooling system to make sure food stayed fresh.

In addition to that refrigerator invention, Jones also invented an air-conditioning unit for military field hospitals, a refrigerator for military field kitchens, a self-starting gas engine, a series of devices for movie projectors and box-office equipment that gave tickets and made change. Jones was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991 – the first Black inventor to ever receive such an honor.

Electret microphone

 Dr.James E West.

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Inventor. Born February 10, 1931, in Prince Edward County, Virginia. West headed to Temple University in 1953 to study physics, and worked during the summers as an intern for the Acoustics Research Department at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hills, New Jersey. He received a bachelor’s in physics in 1957, and was hired by Bell Labs in a full-time position as an acoustical scientist.

In 1960, while at Bell, West teamed up with fellow scientist Gerhard M. Sessler to develop an inexpensive, highly sensitive, compact microphone. In 1962, they finished development on the electret microphone. By 1968, the microphone was in mass production. James and Sessler’s invention became the industry standard, with 90 percent of all contemporary microphones??including telephones, tape recorders, camcorders, baby monitors and hearing aids??using their technology.

Upon retiring from Bell in 2001, West became a research professor at Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. During his career, he has developed more than 250 patents on microphones and related discoveries involving polymer foil electrets.


First Open Heart Surgery

Dale Hale Williams

Daniel Hale Williams was born on January 18, 1856 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He was the fifth of seven children born to Daniel and Sarah Williams. Daniel’s father was a barber and moved the family to Annapolis, Maryland but died shortly thereafter of tuberculosis. Daniel’s mother realized she could not manage the entire family and sent some of the children to live with relatives. Daniel was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Baltimore but ran away to join his mother who had moved to Rockford, Illinois. He later moved to Edgerton, Wisconsin where he joined his sister and opened his own barber shop. After moving to nearby Janesville, Daniel became fascinated with a local physician and decided to follow his path. He began working as an apprentice to the physician (Dr. Henry Palmer) for two years and in 1880 entered what is now known as Northwestern University Medical School. After graduation from Northwestern in 1883, he opened his own medical office in Chicago, Illinois.

Because of primitive social and medical circumstances existing in that era, much of Williams early medical practice called for him to treat patients in their homes, including conducting occasional surgeries on kitchen tables. In doing so, Williams utilized many of the emerging antiseptic, sterilization procedures of the day and thereby gained a reputation for professionalism. He was soon appointed as a surgeon on the staff of the South Side Dispensary and then a clinical instructor in anatomy at Northwestern. In 1889 he was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health and one year later set for to create an interracial hospital.

On January 23, 1891 Daniel Hale Williams established the Provident Hospital and Training School Association, a three story building which held 12 beds and served members of the community as a whole.

The school also served to train Black nurses and utilized doctors of all races. Within its first year, 189 patients were treated at Provident Hospital and of those 141 saw a complete recovery, 23 had recovered significantly, three had seen change in their condition and 22 had died. For a brand new hospital, at that time, to see an 87% success rate was phenomenal considering the financial and health conditions of the patient, and primitive conditions of most hospitals. Much can be attributed to Williams insistence on the highest standards concerning procedures and sanitary conditions.

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Two and a half years later, on July 9, 1893, a young Black man named James Cornish was injured in a bar fight, stabbed in the chest with a knife. By the time he was transported to Provident Hospital he was seeking closer and closer to death, having lost a great deal of blood and having gone into shock. Williams was faced with the choice of opening the man’s chest and possibly operating internally when that was almost unheard of in that day in age. Internal operations were unheard of because any entrance into the chest or abdomen of a patient would almost surely bring with it resulting infection and therefore death. Williams made the decision to operate and opened the man’s chest. He saw the damage to the man’s pericardium (sac surrounding the heart) and sutured it, then applied antiseptic procedures before closing his chest. Fifty one days later, James Cornish walked out of Provident Hospital completely recovered and would go on to live for another fifty years. Unfortunately, Williams was so busy with other matters, he did not bother to document the event and others made claims to have first achieved the feat of performing open heart surgery. Fortunately, local newspapers of the day did spread the news and Williams received the acclaim he deserved. It should be noted however that while he is known as the first person to perform an open heart surgery, it is actually more noteworthy that he was the first surgeon to open the chest cavity successfully without the patient dying of infection. His procedures would therefore be used as standards for future internal surgeries.








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