African American Inventors

  1. Alfred L. Cralle – Invention: The Ice Cream Scoop (A practical design that is still widely used today)
  2. Benjamin Banneker – Invention: Wooden Pocket Watch (He built one of the first watches made in America, a wooden pocket watch)

  3. Dr. Charles Drew – Invention: Improved Techniques for Blood Storage (He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces.

  4. Dr. Daniel H. Williams – Invention: Performed First Open Heart Surgery (Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was an African American physician who made history by performing the first successful open heart surgery operation.)

  5. Dr. Shirley Jackson – Invention: Portable Fax, Touch Tone Telephone, Solar Cell, and The Fiber Optic Cables (Jackson started to conduct successful experiments in theoretical physics and then started to use her knowledge in physics to start making advances in telecommunications while working at Bell Laboratories. These inventions include developments in the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cell, and the fiber optic cables used to provide clarity in overseas telephone calls. She has also helped make possible Caller ID and Call Waiting).

  6. Emmett Chappelle – (Chappelle discovered that even one-celled plants such as algae, which are lightweight and can be transported easily, can convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. This discovery helped to create a safe food supply for astronauts).

  7. Lonnie Johnson – Invention: Super Soaker Water Gun (The super soaker was a water gun that had a large reservoir where you could fill with lots of water which, gave kids endless amounts of fun).

  8. Garrett A. Morgan – Invention: First Traffic Light System (Morgan had witnessed a serious accident at an intersection, and he invented a traffic control device and applied for a patent on it in 1922. His invention was a hand-cranked mechanical sign system using signs that could be switched relatively easily by a traffic control officer. His device was relatively simple, yet had key additional safety features that many others at the time did not have. In addition to having “stop” and “go” indicators, it had an “all stop” signal that could be used to clear the intersection to allow pedestrians to cross or to stop cross-traffic before signaling a different direction to proceed.)

  9. George W. Carver – Invention: Peanut Butter

  10. Jack Johnson – Invention: Wrench (The wrench was used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts)

  11. Joseph A. Smith – Invention: Lawn Sprinkler (its springtime and it’s that season when the flowers bloom, the grass is refreshed and gardens grow. What would life be like if gardeners had to drag long hoses across enormous lawns and sit for hours to make sure the grass was evenly watered? Thanks to African American scientist and inventor, Joseph H. Smith, most people do not have to do that. On May 4, 1897, Smith patented the lawn sprinkler, and later patented an improvement of the original design.)

  12. Madam C.J. Walker – Invention: Hair-Growing Lotion (Developing hair products for black women.)

  13. Marie Van Brittan Brown – Invention: Closed Circuit Television Security System (The system used a motorized camera which slid up and down looking through a set of 4 peep holes. Anything the camera picked up was shown on a monitor. An electrical switch allowed the occupant to unlatch the door by remote control. Back in 1966 the idea for a home surveillance device seemed almost unthinkable.)

  14. Mark Dean – Invention: Microcomputer System with Bus (Mark Dean and his co-inventor Dennis Moeller created a microcomputer system with bus control means for peripheral processing devices. Their invention paved the way for the growth within the information technology industry. We can plug into our computers peripherals like disk drives, video gear, speakers, and scanners.)

  15. Patricia Bath – Invention: Laser Removal (Dr. Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist from New York, but living in Los Angeles when she received her patent, became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention. A method for removing cataract lenses, transformed eye surgery, using a laser device making the procedure more accurate. Bath was able to restore sight to people who had been blind for over 30 years. Patricia Bath also holds patents for her invention in Japan, Canada, and Europe.)

  16. Virgie Ammons – Invention: Fire Place Damper Actuator (Inside the fireplace chimney is a device called a “Damper”. The damper is opened and closed to allow smoke from the fireplace to be drawn upward out of the house. The “Fireplace Damper Actuating Tool” designed by Ammons allows the damper to be “locked” in the closed position, preventing cold air and dust from blowing down the chimney back into the house.”)

  17. W.B. Purvis – Invention: Fountain Pen (The pen eliminated the need for an ink bottle by storing ink within a reservoir within the pen which is then fed to the pen’s tip)

  18. Wallace “Wally” Amos Jr. – Invention: Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie.

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2 Comments

  1. These people were and are blessings to us all…I shared on my Facebook page. Thank you for compiling it!

    • How nice of you to do so! Everyone should be acknowledged for their contributions to our world and way of life. 🙂

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