Site search Web search
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is:
SIX MONTH SEMI-ANNIVERSARY FEBRUARY ONLINE IMPRESSIONS EDITION
SPECIAL FEATURE 1
SPECIAL FEATURE 2
Inventions of Black America rock
Randolph Romerno, Jr
The astounding intelligence found in mankind has led to some incredible discoveries. Not too surprisingly, the endowment of such stellar intelligence is not limited to skin color. All races, including blacks, have contributed to the wealth of knowledge and abundance of inventions that have been accumulated. To explore the African-American contribution in the domain of inventions can be truly enlightening.
The beauty and splendor of the design of Washington D.C. are largely attributable to the excellent memory of Benjamin Banneker. Banneker also has the distinction of being the first to construct a clock in America.
The phrase "the real McCoy" has infiltrated into American culture. Few realize that this statement refers to the invention of the son of runaway slaves. Elijah McCoy’s lubricating cup allowed oil to be fed to parts of a machine while it was in operation.
The first patent held by an African-American was the 1834 patent of Henry Blair’s seed planter for corn. Fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation, despite major obstacles existing to prevent such a feat, African-Americans had taken out about a thousand patents. Many have forgot the early achievements and inventive contributions of African-Americans.
Many Americans have developed what is termed as a "sweet tooth". Perhaps they should be thankful for Norbert Rillieux’s December 1846 patent of an evaporating pan that revolutionized the sugar refining process.
Most remain ignorant of the fact that African-American Lewis Temple invented the standard harpoon, used in the once respectable business of whaling. Philadelphian James Forten invented a device that aided in the control of sails and later built a sail factory employing fifty workers.
Another unsung hero is Jan Matzeliger. In 1883 the thirty year old invented the shoe lasting machine that almost essentially manufactured a shoe in one operation. This invention was able to produce shoes ten times faster than the manual process. By his death in 1889, the demand for his machine had gone global.
Two names that should be of universal consequence, but are not, are Lewis Latimer and Granville Woods. Latimer was one of the Edison Pioneers and rightfully so.
Latimer drew the plans for Alexander Bell’s telephone, invented the process of manufacturing carbon filaments, and created parallel circuitry. Woods was also an important influence on the success of Thomas Edison and Bell.
Woods invented a telegraphony, which combined the effects of a telephone and telegraph, allowing telegraph stations to send oral and signal messages over the same line.
Woods also invented an automatic air brake, the electrical railway system now known as "third rail", and an electrically heated egg incubator.
Indeed the inventive spirit of African-Americans has been immense. Garret Morgan invented the gas mask and the traffic light signal. Andrew Beard invented the jenny coupler that automatically connected railroad cars. Frederick Jones developed refrigeration equipment. Percy Jillian synthesized the drug for the treatment of glaucoma and rheumatism. There are scores of other African-American inventors whose efforts have not received the proper commendation and due credit.
The intelligence that has denoted African-Americans still exists today. The love of math and science that was present in Africans before they were led in chains to a New World of bondage resurfaces time and time again.
To capture the essence of the contribution and prestige of African-American inventors in a few hundred words is futile.
Furthermore, it is a travesty that most people would not be able to utter a couple hundred words hailing the accomplishments of the African-American inventor. Nonetheless, African-American inventors have secured for themselves, and will continue to do so, a sainted niche in the intellectual community.