A Sampling of African-American Inventors and Their Inventions
Emmit McHenry and his partners were ahead in the technology game, but Blacks Business people refuse to join him.
In 1979, Emmit McHenry and a few associates start an engineering company name Network Solutions. For 16 years, he and his partners toiled away and built a solid company. They could not get money from the financial institute so they mortgage their properties and max out their credit cards. They were good engineers and got many contracts but the gem within Network Solutions was a contract with the National Science Foundation, which was to create the U.S. Government’s and World first domain name addressing system for the Internet. This was back when the Internet was just a government project, and its commercial potential hadn’t been realized.
Emmit McHenry created a complex computer code whereby ordinary people can now surf the web or have e-mails without having to study computer science. He created what we know today simply as .com
On Dec. 31 1992, Network Solutions got the contract that would make the company a legacy. After the government review several company proposals, The National Science Foundation Department selected Network Solution as manager of domain names registration service for the Internet.
The contract was for $1 million a year for five years. Network Solution had the sole authority to develop and issue Internet system for Web addresses. What Network Solution developed was .com, .net, .edu, and. gov. to communicate on the Internet.
At the time Network Solutions already was handling other sensitive engineering projects for the government. To keep up with the demands the company needed to hire more workers and buy new equipment, but the fixed $1 million a year contract proved to be a constrained because no matter how many names the company registered, it could not charge more. Over the years demand for domain names increase and the company staff grew to 400 employees. Emmit applied to the government to charge directly for the domain names as the request for names continued to increase by the thousands. The government refuses and continues to pay the company $1 million a year for as many requested domain names.
Emmit went to wealthy high profile Blacks and they all refuse to invest in his company. He tried the financial institute and Wall Street and they also said no. He got some help from a white fellow engineer but it was not enough. In the mean time the government keeps insisting if he could not keep up with the volume they will break the contract.
In 1995 Emmit sold Network Solutions to Science Applications International Corp or SAIC for 4.8 million plus personal and business debt. In a few months the government gives SAIC the rights to charge $70.00 per year for each domain name plus royalty on any other created domain names, the same request Emmit wanted. With millions of people and companies requesting domain names there was a bidding war to buy this new cash cow SAIC acquired. A Wall Street Company name VeriSign Inc. was the winner. SAIC flip the newly purchase 4.8 million company to VeriSign Inc for $21 Billion within a year.
|CARVER, GEORGE WASHINGTON
George Washington Carver (1865?-1943) was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian, and former slave. Carver developed hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and soybeans; his discoveries greatly improved the agricultural output and the health of Southern farmers. Before this, the only main crop in the South was cotton. The products that Carver invented included a rubber substitute, adhesives, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments, and many other products.For more information on Carver, click here. For a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) activity on Carver, click here.
|DOWNING, PHILIP B.
The street letter drop mailbox with a hinged door that closed to protect the mail was invented by Philip B. Downing. Downing, an African-American inventor, patented his new device on October 27, 1891 (US Patent # 462,093).
Elijah McCoy (1843 or 1844-1929) was a mechanical engineer and inventor. McCoy’s high-quality industrial inventions (especially his steam engine lubricator) were the basis for the expression “the real McCoy,” meaning the real, authentic, or high-quality thing.For more information on Elijah McCoy, click here. For a cloze activity on McCoy, click here. McCoy continued to refine his devices and design new ones; 50 of his patents dealt with lubricating systems. After the turn of the century, he attracted notice among his black contemporaries. Booker T. Washington in Story of the Negro (1909) recognized him as having produced more patents than any other black inventor up to that time. This creativity gave McCoy an honored status in the black community that has persisted to this day. He continued to invent until late in life, obtaining as many as 57 patents. Most of these were related to lubrication, but others also included a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. Lacking the capital with which to manufacture his lubricators in large numbers, he usually assigned his patent rights to his employers or sold them to investors. Lubricators with the McCoy name were not manufactured until 1920, near the end of his career. He formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company to produce his works.
Norbert Rillieux (March 17, 1806-October 8, 1894) was an African-American inventor and engineer who invented a device that revolutionized sugar processing. Rillieux’s multiple effect vacuum sugar evaporator (patented in 1864) made the processing of sugar more efficient, faster, and much safer. The resulting sugar was also superior. His apparatus was eventually adopted by sugar processing plants all around the world.
Inventors of Note
His inventive spirit would lead him to be called the “first African American inventor”, Banneker invented the first Farmers’ Almanac.
Andrew Jackson Beard
On November 27, 1897, Beard received a patent for a device he called the Jenny Coupler.
Miriam E. Benjamin
Ms. Benjamin was the second black woman to receive a patent. She received a patent for an invention she called ‘a Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels.’
Henry Blair was the second black inventor issued a patent by the United States Patent Office.
Blount invented a device to help disabled persons eat.
The ironing board (U.S. Patent #473,653) was invented by African-American Sarah Boone on December 30, 1887.
Boykin invented the ‘Electrical Resistor’ used in computers, radios, television sets and a variety of electronic devices.
C. B. Brooks invented the first street sweeper truck and was issued a patent on March 17, 1896.
Brown patented a ‘receptacle for storing and preserving papers’ on November 2, 1886, which developed into what is now known as the bank safety deposit box
George Washington Carver
Carver invented peanut butter, adhesives, bleach, chili sauce, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, talcum powder and more.
Carruthers was the inventor of the far-ultraviolet camera and the spectrograph.
Emmett W. Chappelle
Chappelle was a biochemist, photobiologist, astrochemist and inventor.
John B. Christian
John B. Christian invented and patented new lubricants used in high flying aircraft and NASA space missions.
Crosthwait holds 39 patents for heating systems and temperature regulating devices. He is most well known for creating the heating system for New York City’s famous Radio City Music Hall.
Dean co-invented improvements in computer architecture that allowed IBM compatible PCs to use the same peripheral devices.
Dr. Charles Richard Drew
Drew was the first person to develop the blood bank.
In 1989, Emeagwali won the Gordon Bell Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for developing the fastest supercomputer software in the world.
Sarah E. Goode
Sarah Goode was the first African-American women to receive a patent (US #322,177), which was issued on 7/14/1885. She invented a type of cabinet bed.
Meredith C. Gourdine
Gourdine was the inventor of electrogasdynamics systems.
Lloyd Augustus Hall
Lloyd Hall is responsible for the meat curing products, seasonings, emulsions, bakery products, antioxidants, protein hydrolysates and many other products that keep our food fresh and flavorable.
Thomas L. Jennings
Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American to receive a patent (US patent3306x), which was issued on March 3rd, 1821.
Johnson invented the Super Soaker® a squirt gun and also invented thermodynamics systems on the side.
Jones invented the first automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks.
Marjorie Stewart Joyner
Joyner invented a permanent wave machine that would allow a hairdo to stay set for days.
Percy Lavon Julian
Julian synthesized the medicines physostigmine for glaucoma and cortisone used for rheumatoid arthritis and he invented fire-extinguishing equipment.
Lewis Howard Latimer
Latimer invented the water closet for railroad cars, an electric lamp with an inexpensive carbon filament and a threaded wooden socket for light bulbs.
John Lee Love
The “Love Sharpener” was designed by John Lee Love. Love’s invention is the very simple and portable pencil sharpener that many artists use today.
Jan Earnst Matzeliger
Matzeliger invented an automatic method for lasting shoes, which made the mass production of affordable shoes possible.
McCoy is best known for having invented the automatic oil cup. During his life, McCoy invented and sold 57 different kinds of devices and machine parts, including an ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. His first patent was for a lubricator for steam engines ( US #129,843), which was issued on July 12th, 1872.
Garrett A. Morgan
Morgan invented the gas mask and the automatic traffic signal.
Rillieux invented the sugar processing evaporator.
Madame Walker was a St. Louis washerwoman turned entrepreneur, who in 1905 invented a method to soften and smooth African-American hair.
Granville T. Woods
Woods invented improvements to electric railways, air brakes, telephones and telegraphs; a chicken egg incubator and an apparatus for an amusement park ride.