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10 Black Inventions That We All Use In Our Homes Today

Have you ever looked around your house and wondered who invented the items around you? Many of the everyday items we use were created by black inventors, but we were never taught that. 

In school, they fail to educate us on black history and black excellence when in reality we have played a large role in the growth and advancement of society. Sadly, the only history that is left about many black inventors is their patents on their creations. 

Therefore, to help further everyone’s education and honor these pioneers, here are ten black inventions that we use in our homes today! 

10 Black Inventions You Use In Our Homes 

1. Central Heating System: Alice H. Parker

In 1919, Alice H. Parker invented the heating furnace to provide central heating to homes and small buildings using natural gas.

This allowed society to not have to chop wood to make a fire which made heating your home an easier, faster process.

Her furnace had air ducts that could be placed throughout the building and was able to be adjusted in different areas! 

All in all, Ms. Parker created the gold standard for the central heating systems we all use in our homes now.

Thanks to her we can all be cozy while watching our favorite shows on a rainy day! 

2.  Mop: Thomas W. Stewart

The mop has technically been around since 1496 and it consisted of a wooden stick with yarn or clothing attached to it.

The issue with this design was that people didn’t have a way to keep the yarn or cloth attached clean which hindered the effectiveness of the mop. 

In 1893, Thomas W. Stewart came to save the day by refining the design to have a head that is removable and a lever that would allow the user to wring the dirty water from the mop head.

This helped to make mopping less challenging and enhanced the cleanliness in everyone’s home. 

3. Clothes Dryer: George T. Sampson

George T. Sampson’s patent on the clothing dryer

George T. Sampson was the first to receive a U.S. patent on the clothes dryer in 1892! Prior to this, the majority of households line-dried their clothes outside or were placed in a metal drum with ventilation holes over open fires.

The use of the “ventilators” wasn’t favored though as the open fire made your clean clothes smell like smoke, have soot stains, and sometimes would catch fire. 

Mr. Sampson invented an improved version of the “ventilator” that included a rack that the clothes would be set on and was dried using heat from a stove.

This design was a revolutionary idea that influenced the evolution of the automatic clothes dryer we use today. 

4. Dust Pan: Lloyd Ray

Lloyd Ray’s patent on the dust pan

Have you ever moved to a new house and forgot to buy a dustpan? If you have, you know the struggle of trying to pick up dirt and debris that you swept up with a paper plate, random mail, or a napkin. 

Back in the day, they did not have these items lying around to help them to do that, so they would have to use their hands to bring the dirt to the trash.

As you can imagine, that can take some time to collect all of it and transfer to the trash, also having to be on your hands and knees is not the most comfortable position to be in. 

Therefore, we can thank Lloyd Ray who invented the dustpan in 1897 that included a long wooden handle and a metal pan to collect the debris.

Other than the material used, the design is still prominent today and is also the inspiration behind pooper scoopers (shoutout to the dog lovers!).

 

5. Clock: Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker created the first clock in America out of wood in 1753.He decided to design a clock because the only devices he saw that could tell time were pocket-watches and sundials which were only popular overseas. So, he disabled a pocket watch and studied how it functioned; then he took what he learned and hand-carved the pieces for the clock. This invention made Mr. Banneker famous as people would travel to come to see what he created.One of the most interesting aspects of the clock was its longevity. It worked perfectly for 50 years and it probably would still be ticking if it hadn’t been destroyed in a fire. 

6. Carbon Light Bulb Filament: Lewis Latimer

In school, we are taught that Edison created the light bulb, but who was behind the long life spans of light bulbs? That is Lewis Latimer!

With Edison’s early design, the filament was made of paper which would burn out very fast. With Lewis Latimer’s design, he created a filament made of carbon which is much more durable and could last up to 1200 hours! 

He was a part of Edison’s research team called  “Edison’s Pioneers”, so he could often be forgotten, especially being associated with Thomas Edison.Mr. Latimer later received a patent for the process on how to manufacture the carbon filament and also created the threaded socket which is used in today’s light bulbs.

Without his invention, we would have to constantly change a paper filament, use candles for light, or just sit in the dark. 

7. Home Security System: Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security system with her husband, Albert Brown, in 1966.

She lived in Queens, New York City where the crime rate was high and she didn’t appreciate how long it would take for the police to arrive when she called about an emergency.

Therefore, she created a system that would help her feel more secure in her home that allowed her to see and hear who was outside of her door and the ability to press a button to contact the authorities quickly. 

The design of the system she created was very complex and ahead of its time with features of remote control to lock/unlock the door, a voice component to speak to the individual outside, and a wireless system that allowed you to see on a monitor who was outside.

These same features are still utilized in the modern security systems that are installed in our homes today. 

8. Ironing Board: Sarah Boone

In the 1800’s, everyone would iron their clothes by laying a board of wood across a few chairs or tables.

The common issue though was that ironing on a one-dimensional board created unwanted creases on the sleeves. 

In 1892, Sarah Boone created the first ironing board to make ironing sleeves and female garments simpler and convenient.

The design of the board was narrow and curved to fit the garment’s shape, but could also be flat to iron men’s clothing.

Although the style of the board is not the look we are used to today, Ms. Boone provided the blueprint for the many revisions that were done in the future. 

9. Metal Oven Racks: Joseph Hawkins

Joseph H. Smith’s patent on the lawn sprinkler

In order to cook meat, people use to cook it on a rotisserie or broil it over a fire using a gridiron.

In 1845, Joseph Hawkins invented an improved gridiron that had a trough to catch the fat from the meat and included a handle for easy use over a fire and in an oven.

It also allowed for multiple food items to be cooked at the same time. 

This was later improved to become the metal racks that are in all of our ovens today!

So we can thank Joseph Hawkins for giving us a way to cook baked mac n’ cheese and candied yams at the same time! 

10. Lawn Sprinkler: Joseph H. Smith

Joseph H. Smith’s patent on the lawn sprinkler

Have you ever tried to water a large lawn with one water hose? If you have then you understand how convenient this invention is. If you haven’t then you can thank Joseph H. Smith for eliminating that labor from your life.

 He invented the first lawn sprinkler with rotary heads in 1897 that could disperse water in two directions.

A year later, he received another patent for making improvements on his original design. So, next time you see your sprinklers come on, think of Joseph H. Smith.

I hope you learned something new from this post and pass along this valuable information!  And the next time you use one of these items/appliances, put some respect on these pioneer’s names!

If you are interested in learning more about black innovators in history, click here

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