Celebrating Black History Month By Spotlighting Everyday Items Created By Black Inventors
To celebrate Black History Month this year, we are going to showcase everyday items you use around your house to create a more enjoyable lifestyle that were created by Black inventors. From appliances to useful cleaning items, and so much more, your daily life – and in some cases survival – relies on these inventions.
In 1892, George T. Sampson patented the automatic clothes dryer to help dry clothes faster. His invention paved the way for modern clothes dryers by eliminating the need for an open flame and automating what was typically a hand-done process.
Credited with several inventions, Thomas Elkins also patented a modern toilet. This invention, which he called a “chamber commode,” combined a, “bureau, mirror, book-rack, washstand, table, easy-chair, and earth-closet or chamber-stool.”
If you have a central heating system in your house, then you can thank Alice H. Parker for inventing it. During a time where most homes were heated by a wood-burning fireplace, Parker designed a system that uses natural gas to heat the whole home.
Look in your refrigerator and see if you have any fresh produce, meat, or other perishables that came from out of area. If you do, that was made possible by the mobile air conditioning unit invented by Frederick McKinley Jones in 1938 to keep refrigerated delivery trucks cold.
Although he did not invent the refrigerator, John Standard was granted a patent in 1891 for an improved, non-electric refrigerator design. His concept placed the cooling chamber at the top of the box, which then pushed the cold air down through the unit using compressed air and ether. This concept is the basis for most modern refrigerators still used today.
Enjoy cooking on a gas stove top? Patented in 1899, the gas burner using natural gas was invented by Benjamin F. Jackson.
Osbourn Dorsey is credited with the creation of the doorknob assembly in 1878. Prior to its invention, most people used a simple latch and string to keep doors closed or used a lock.
The modern home security system, and closed circuit television system, was invented and patented by Marie Van Brittan Brown in 1969. This system included peepholes, a camera, a two-way microphone, monitors, and an alarm button that could be pushed to notify the police.
Thanks to Lloyd P. Ray and his invention the dustpan, we have a cleaner solution for getting rid of dust and small items after sweeping the floor. The dustpan was patented in 1897.
In 1899, John Albert Burr was granted a patent for the rotary lawnmower. In addition to the lawnmower, Burr is credited with designing related devices including one that mulches clippings, creating a more luscious lawn to mow.
Also related to landscaping, inventor Joseph H. Smith invented the lawn sprinkler, which was patented in 1897. He would later patent an improvement on his original design.
Thomas W. Stewart invented the wring mop, an improvement upon the existing mops at the time, with a patent given in 1893. Thanks to Stewart’s ingenuity, mopping the floor became easier and cleaner.