Despite the many obstacles that African-American inventors have faced, there is a rich and long history of African-American inventors. One of the first black inventors who was able to obtain a U.S. patent was Thomas L. Jennings, who obtained a patent in 1821 for a dry-cleaning process.
Other early African-American inventors include Henry Blair, who received a patent for a seed planter in 1834 and a corn harvester in 1836, and Granville T. Woods who received 27 patents, beginning with his first patent in 1884 for a steam boiler furnace. He has been described as the "Black Edison."
Here are some good sites to find information on important African-American inventors and their patents.
- African American Inventors Database
- African-American Inventors
- African-American Inventors: A Sampling of African-American Inventors and Their Inventions
- Inventions and Patents of African-Americans-19th Century
and Patents of African-Americans-20th Century
- Historical African American Inventors
- The Top Ten African-American Inventors
- Major Inventions by African-Americans
- The Black Inventor Online Museum
- Museum of Black Inventions and Innovations
Try the following Google searches to find more information on African-American Inventors. (Use quotes to make the search more targeted.)
African-American Inventors Videos
A Few Black Inventors from the 1800's to 2000
Recommended Books on African-American Inventors
African American Inventors (Black Stars)
Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and Inventors
Your Little Black Book, Vol. 1 African American Inventions and Inventors (Your Little Black Book)