At a time when racism reigned supreme, it was quite expected that most inventions by blacks, as well as inventions of african americans wouldn’t be given the adequate recognition it deserves.
However, with Racism gradually becoming a thing of the past, it’s time to finally recognize and appreciate some inventions of african americans.
1. Potato chips
Potato chips were actually invented in a fit of rage; okay, let me explain further:
George Crum was a chef working at a resort in Saratoga springs, new york in the year 1853. He was asked to prepare potato chips for a customer, and as is usual with most chefs, Crum put his heart and soul into it.
He served the customer, and to his greatest surprise, the customer sent his food back, complaining that it was too thick, not salted enough and very soft.
Crum, out of anger took some potatoes, cut them into fine thin crisps, fried them until they were almost burnt and poured a handful of salt on top. His plan was to teach the customer a thing or two about complaining.
Shockingly, the customer loved it so much that with time, it became the most popular food on the menu. Eventually, George opened his own restaurant and had potato chips on every table.
Fortunately, he didn’t patent his creation, otherwise, it could have been more expensive.
2. Carbon filament bulb
If you’re asked who invented the light bulb, chances are you’ll mention Thomas Edison, however, there were a bunch of unsung heroes working behind the scenes to perfect the light bulb, and a notable figure among them was Lewis Latimer
Lewis Latimer worked in a law firm that dealt with patents in the year 1868, and while he was there, he worked with Alexander Graham Bell during the invention of the telephone.
Latimer was, well, self taught, and in a matter of time, he decided to go into the world of light. While Thomas Edison used paper filaments (which would burn within 15 minutes), Latimer used carbon filaments, which lasted a lot longer.
This made production a lot cheaper, and as a result, reduced the cost of light bulbs.
3. Walker Hair care system
We now dive a bit into the world of fashion; who was the first black woman to make hair products? Keep reading to find out;
Sarah Breedlove had quite a tragic beginning; you see, she was born in the year 1867, and at the age of 7, she lost both parents.
She got married at the age of 14, gave birth at the age of 17 and lost her husband at the age of 19.
Due to her bad diet (probably due to poverty), scalp diseases and defective hair products, Sarah suffered extreme hair loss. The condition became so bad that she prayed to God for help, and according to her, a man gave her the recipe for her hair treatment in a dream.
She claimed the recipe worked perfectly for her and then proceeded to Commercialize it, naming it her “wonderful hair grower”
She had earlier reinvented herself as madam cj walker and employed over 40,000 people in the US, central america and the caribbean. Her immense success made people believe her to be the first self made female millionaire.
4. Protective Mail Box
Before the year 1891, mail boxes were semi open, leaving mails exposed to thieves, and the elements.
However, Philip B Downing changed the situation by designing, or should I say, redesigning the mail box to include an outer door and an inner safety door
The safety door was designed in a way that when the outer door was opened, the inner door would be closed, and when the outer door was closed, the inner door would be open so that the mail can join other mails in the box.
This allowed mail boxes to easily be set up near houses, with relatively guaranteed safety.
5. Gas masks
Concerned by the number of firefighters that died as a result of smoke inhalation, Garrett Morgan (who only received a 6th grade education) developed the safety hood.
The safety hood covered the head and were fitted with two wet sponges to help filter smoke.
He trusted it so much that in 1916, Garrett ran to a tunnel explosion scene and saved the lives of the workers trapped inside. This increased the reliability of the invention, and ultimately boosted it’s popularity.