Andrew Jackson Beard invented the “Jenny Coupler” in 1897, a device which allowed train cars to hook themselves together when they are bumped into one another. The device saved the lives of many railroad workers, who originally had the dangerous job of hooking the moving cars together by hand.
Henry Blair, the second African-American to receive a patent, invented a corn seed planter in 1834 and a cotton planter in 1836. Blair could not read or write and signed his patent with an X.
Otis Boykin invented electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers, and the control unit for a pacemaker.
C.B. Brooks invented the street sweeper in 1896. It was a truck equipped with brooms.
Henry Brown created what is now known as a “strongbox”, a metal container to store money and important papers that could be locked with a key.
George Carruthers invented the far ultraviolet electrographic camera, used in the 1972 Apollo 16 mission. This invention revealed new features in Earth’s far-outer atmosphere and deep-space objects from the perspective of the lunar surface. Carruthers was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 1897, African-American inventor Alfred Cralle patented the first ice cream scoop. His original design remains in wide use, even today.
African-American mechanical engineer, David Crosthwait, Jr. created the heating systems for the Rockefeller Center and New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
David Crosthwait, Jr., who created the heating system for New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, holds 39 U.S. patents and 80 international patents pertaining to heating, refrigeration and temperature regulating systems.