Black History Month: Inventors

In honor of Black History Month, observed each year in February, we’re presenting a few of the many Black inventors who have enriched industry and technology in the United States:

  • Jan Ernst Matzeliger invented a shoe making machine that could make 150 to 700 pairs of shoes in one day, compared to 50 pairs a day sewn by hand.
  • Andrew Jackson Beard invented an improved flour mill, plow, and steam engine. He went on to invent the Jenny coupler, which automatically attached railroad cars to one anther on contact. 
  • Norbert Rillieux was invented the multiple effect vacuum evaporator, which revolutionized the process of evaporating substances like sugar, gelatin, and whiskey.
  • Henry Blair was awarded patents for two types of automatic seed planters.
  • Elijah McCoy developed a self-lubricating system for railroad trains.
  • Alexander Miles invented automatic self-closing doors for elevators.
  • Mark Dean was one of the inventors of the IBM personal computer.
  • Frederick McKinley Jones invented a range of portable refrigeration devices for vehicles.
  • Otis Boykin came up with improved electric resistors.

We look forward to a time when we no longer need Black History Month because we are always aware of the contributions of Black Americans.

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