Black Inventors and InnovatorsRPI Black Family Technology Day February 4, 2012
Thomas Fortune, entrepreneur 1791-1859• Tailor to store owner.• 1820 patent for “dry scouring” process.• Used profits for abolition purposes.• 1831, assistant secretary for the First Annual Convention of the People of Color in Philadelphia. Representative image
Edward Alexander Bouchet 1852-1918• 1874 first person of African descent to graduate from Yale.• 1876 Bouchet successfully completed his dissertation on geometrical optics, becoming the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. from an American university.• Taught at the Institute for Colored Youth for 26 years then various educational institutions and other endeavors.
Lyda Newman• 1898 patent for improved hair brush.• First brush with synthetic bristles.• Designed to promote ventilation and provide storage for excess hair or impurities.
Ellen Eglin, no patent 1849 - ?• Worked as a domestic laborer and invented the clothes wringer.• Sold the rights to patent and distribute to a white man for $18, because, “You know I am black and if it was known that a Negro woman patented the invention white ladies would not buy the wringer, I was afraid to be known because of my color, in having it introduced into the market, that is the only reason.”
Andrew Beard • Born enslaved • 1897 patent for Jenny Coupler to join two rail cars. • Sold rights to railroad company for $50,000. • Also patented a steam driven rotary engine, and a double plow.
Lewis Latimer, 1848 -1928• 1874 co patented improved toilet system for railroad cars.• 1876 employed by Alexander Bell to draft necessary drawings for Bell’s patent application.• 1881 patent for the "Process of Manufacturing Carbons", an improved method for the production of carbon filaments for the light bulb
Dr. Lloyd August Hall 1894-1971• Chief chemist, director of research, and technical director of Griffith Laboratories, Inc.• 1930’s Introduced “flash dried salt crystals”• Over 54 patents in food preparation and preservation.• In 1939, he helped found the Institute of Food Technologists, the first professional organization serving chemists involved in food processing and preservation.
Elmer Samuel Imes, physicist 1883-1941 • Published work that opened study of molecular structure through the use of infra-red spectroscopy. • Four patents for his work. • 1929 started Fisks A.B. program in Physics. • Married to Harlem Renaissance poet Nella Larsen.
Vivien Thomas, 1910-1985 • Carpenter to laboratory assistant, supervisor, instructor to honorary Doctor of Laws • Developed surgical instruments and improvements in surgical procedures at Johns Hopkins.
Marjorie Joyner, beauty salon owner 1912 - 1994• 1916 graduated cosmetology school and opened a beauty salon.• 1919 hired as National Supervisor of Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Colleges• 1928 patented Permanent Waving Machine to curl hair with multiple heated rods.
Alice Parker•1919 new and improved heating furnace
Herbert Smitherman, Sr. Ph.D • Physical Organic chemist • First Black person with a Ph.D hired by Proctor and Gamble. • Patents include Crest toothpaste, Folgers coffee, Bounce, Safeguard and Crush soda. • After retirement he taught at Wilberforce then started the Western Hills Design Technology School to help Black students perform better in math and science.
Percy L. Julian, chemist (1899 -1975) • Synthesized physostigmine which treats glaucoma. • Used soybean protein to create a number of products. • 1954 used Mexican yams to synthesize cortisone. • Had over 130 patents. • 1961 sale of Julian Laboratories made him one of first Black millionaires.
Patricia Bath, Ophthalmologist• Selected to participate in cancer research as a teenager.• First Black person to complete residency in ophthalmology.• Patented “Laserphaco probe” to remove cataracts.
Less than 1% of all mathematiciansare Black. 25% of these are women.
Christine Vonicle Mann Darden, mechanical engineer• Former math teacher.• 1967 Joined National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center.• Works on wing design supersonic flow, flap designs and sonic boom predictions.• 3 patents filed between 2002 and 2005.
Phillip Emeagwali • International Gordon Bell Prize in computer science. • Worked on supercomputers.
Lonnie Johnson, engineer• Created the Super soaker water gun
National Inventors Hall of Fame InducteesYear Inducted Name of Inventor No. of Patents1990 Dr. George Washington Carver 31990 Dr. Charles R. Drew 31990 Dr. Percy Lavon Julian 1051997 Mark Edward Dean Over 1001999 James E. West 402001 Elijah McCoy 472003 Dr. George Caruthers 12004 Lloyd Augustus Hall 542005 Garrett Augustus Morgan 32006 Andrew J. Beard 112006 Lewis H. Latimer 102006 Jan E. Matzelinger 62007 Granville T. Woods Over 402007 Emmett W. Chappelle 152007 Frederick McKinley Jones Over 302007 Alexander Miles 3
Note there have been no women ofAfrican descent inducted into the inventor’s hall of fame and many pioneer men have yet to berecognized for their contributions.
Valerie Thomas • Began career at NASA as data analyst. • Illusion transmitter patented in 1980. • Designed programs to research Halleys comet and ozone holes. • She received numerous awards for her service, including the GSFC Award of Merit and the NASA Equal Opportunity Medal.
Mark Edward Dean, electrical engineer• Led team to develop the first gigahertz chip capable of a billion calculations per second.• Over 200 domestic and international patents.
Jelani Aliyu, designer of the 2007hybrid electric car Chevrolet Volt
Harry Sampson• First African American to earn a Ph.D.in Nuclear Engineering in the US.• Employed as a research chemical engineer in the area of high energy solid propellants and case bonding materials for solid rocket motors for US Navy.• Co-inventor of gamma electric cell.
Dr. Shirley Jackson, second woman of African descent in theUS to earn a Ph.D. in physics and current President ofRensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 2009, President Obamaappointed Dr. Jackson to serve on the President’s Council ofAdvisors on Science and Technology.
Filling in the Gaps in American History (FIGAH),Inc.For more information on people of African descent who do notusually appear in text books, contact firstname.lastname@example.org , visit us onFacebook or call 518.210.6028