Author: changabula

Black Inventors [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-6-1 20:45:42 |Display all floors
Sarah E. Goode

Sarah E. Goode was the owner of a furniture store in Chicago, Illinois. Her claim to fame is that she was the first Black Woman to receive a patent.

In an effort to help people maximize their limited space, Goode invented a Folding Cabinet Bed. The Cabinet Bed when folded up resembled a desk which included compartments for stationary and writing instruments. Goode received her patent on July 14, 1885.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:47:44 |Display all floors
I didn't realise that there was so much information!

Originally posted by tekvicious at 2007-6-1 20:45
Wow...this is another super informative thread, just like the Chinese one that you made...very well presented.
I'm learning stuff that I didn't know...again.


Thanks.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:49:25 |Display all floors
Meredith Gourdine


Meredith Charles "Flash" Gourdine was born on September 26, 1929 in Newark, New Jersey. His father worked as a painter and janitor and instilled within his son the importance of a strong work ethic. Meredith attended Brooklyn Technical High School and after classes he helped his father on various jobs, often working eight hour days. However, his father believed that education was more important than just developing into a hard worker and he told him "If you don't want to be a laborer all your life, stay in school." Meredith minded his father's advice, excelling in academics. He was also an excellent athlete, competing in track and field and swimming during his senior year. He did well enough in swimming to be offered a scholarship to the University of Michigan, but he turned it down to enter Cornell University. He paid his way through Cornell for his first two years before receiving a track and field scholarship after his sophomore year. He competed in sprints, hurdles and the long jump. Standing 6' and weighing 175 lbs., he starred for his school, winning four titles at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America championship and led Cornell to a second place finish at the 1952 NCAA Track and Field Championship (The University of Southern California won the meet but boasted 36 athletes while Cornell had only five c). Gourdine was so heralded that he was chosen to represent the United States at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. He received a silver medal in the long jump competition, losing to fellow American Jerome Biffle by one and a half inches. "I Would have rather lost by a foot," he would later say. "I still have nightmares about it."

After graduating from Cornell with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering Physics in 1953, he entered the United States Navy as an officer. He soon returned to academia, entering the California Institute of Technology, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received a Ph.D. in Engineering Science in 1960. During his time at Cal. Tech., he served on the Technical Staff of the Ramo-Woolridge Corporation and then as a Senior Research Scientist at the Cal. Tech. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After graduation, he became a Lab Director for the Plasmodyne Corporation until 1962 when he joined the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, serving as Chief Scientist.

In 1964, Gourdine borrowed $200,000.00 from family and friends and opened Gourdine Laboratories, a research laboratory located in Livingston, New Jersey and at its height he employed 150 people. In 1973, he founded and served as CEO for Energy Innovation, Inc. in Houston, Texas which produced direct-energy conversion devices (converting low-grade coal into inexpensive, transportable and high-voltage electrical energy). His company's performed research and development, specifically in the fields of electrogasdynamics. Electrogasdynamics refers to the generation of energy from the motion of ionized (electrically charged) gas molecules under high pressure. His biggest creation was the Incineraid system, which was used to disperse smoke from burning buildings and could be used to disperse fog on airport runways. The Incineraid system worked by negatively charging smoke or fog, causing the airborne particles within to be electro magnetically charged and then to fall to the ground. The result was clean air and a clear area. He also received patents for the Focus Flow Heat Sink, which was used to cool computer chips as well as for processes for desalinating sea water, for developing acoustic imaging, and for a high-powered industrial paint spray.

George CarruthersOver his career Gourdine held over 30 patents and many of his creations serve as the basis for allergen-filtration devices common to households across the world. He was inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame in 1994. Towards his latter years, he suffered from diabetes, and lost his sight as well as one leg due to the disease.

Meredith Gourdine died on November 20, 1998, due to complications from multiples strokes. He left behind a legacy of research, design and innovation that will continue to have an impact for many years.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:52:03 |Display all floors
George F. Grant

George F. Grant knew what most of us have come to recognize - the average golfer is a hacker, destroying grass courses and terrorizing other golfers, homeowners and passersby with wild, dangerous drives. Although he loved the game, he grew frustrated trying to keep the ball from rolling away from him as he attempted to tee off and did not want to swing at the ball while it was moving , thus sending off a wild shot.

On December 12, 1899, Grant patented a golf tee which raised the golf ball (made of rubber at that time) slightly off of the ground, enabling the player greater control with his wooden club and therefore of the direction and speed of the drive. The tee was made of a small wooden peg with a concave piece of rubber on top to hold the ball and in addition to helping with control over the direction of the shot, it also aided in promoting longer drives.

George Grant's small invention has become a standard piece of equipment for all golfers.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:53:44 |Display all floors
Lloyd Hall

Lloyd Hall was born on June 20, 1894 in Elgin, Illinois. He was an honor student while attending West Side High School in Aurora, Illinois and captained the school debate team while competing in baseball, football and track. Lloyd graduated High School in the top 10 of his class and had to choose between four college scholarship offers. He decided to attend nearby Northwestern University, earning a Bachelor Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1916.

While at Northwestern, Hall attended classes with a fellow student named Carroll L. Griffith who would later go on to become the founder of Griffith Laboratories. After graduation, Hall earned a graduate degree from the University of Chicago.

Hall was soon hired by the Western Electric Company through a telephone interview. When he showed up for his first day, however, he was told by a personnel officer that "we don't take niggers." Recovering from this slight, he began working for the Chicago Department of Health as a chemist and was promoted in 1917 to senior chemist. The next year he moved to Ottumwa, Iowa where he held the position of chief chemist at the John Morrell Company. During this time, World War I broke out and Hall received an appointment as Chief Inspector of Powder and Explosives for the United States Ordnance Department.

On September 23, 1919 Lloyd married Myrrhene Newsome, a teacher from Macomb, Illinois. Two years later, the couple moved to Chicago where Lloyd began working for the Boyer Chemical Laboratory where he took the position of chief chemist and focused on the emerging field of food chemistry, and began looking at a way of preserving meats with chemicals. In 1922 he moved on to Chemical Products Corporation where he served as President and Chemical director of their consulting laboratory and often consulted with Griffith Laboratories. In 1925, Hall was offered a position with Griffith Laboratories as chief chemist and director of research. Griffith Laboratories, of course, had been founded by Hall's former classmate Carroll Griffith and after years of moving from company to company, Hall accepted the position and remained there for the next 34 years.

Hall had been working for a number of years exploring different areas of food chemistry and upon joining Griffith Laboratories began looking into methods for preserving foods. Up to that point, foods, and especially meats had been preserved by using sodium chloride (table salt). As well, nitrogen-containing chemicals were also used to preserve meats. It was found that nitrates chemically changed into nitrites and then into nitrous acid which caused the meats to maintain a healthy, red color (the process was referred to as curing meat). Hall found, however, that when sodium chloride, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite were used in order to preserve and cure the meat, the nitrates and nitrites penetrated the meat much faster than did the sodium chloride. In doing so, the nitrates and nitrites adversely affected the meat by breaking it down before the sodium chloride had a chance to preserve it. In order to correct this, Hall found a while of encasing the nitrates and nitrites within a sodium chloride "shell" by utilizing a process called "flash-drying" the crystals over heated rollers. This allowed the sodium nitrate to be introduced to the meats first and dissolved, and then the nitrates and nitrites were able to penetrate the "preserved" meat and therefore "cure" it.

Hall next addressed a problem which arose when meats were stored in containers. The sodium chloride/nitrate/nitrite combination tended to absorb the moisture from the air inside or the container and caused them to form a caked mass on top of the meat. Hall was able to determine that by adding a glycerine and alkali metal tartrate to the original combination, the glycerine and tartrate would effectively absorb the moisture without "caking" and thus preventing the chloride/nitrate/nitrite combination from absorbing it.

Hall also maintained an interest in sterilizing foods, utensils and tools. Although many people thought that certain spices and flavorings also had the added benefit of preserving foods, Hall found that many of these agents actually exposed the foods to an abundance of germs, molds and bacteria. Hall set out to prevent this while at the same time allowing the spices and flavorings to retain the aroma and color (many of these lost their color and aroma and flavor when exposed to high (sterilizing temperatures.) He eventually found a gas called ethylene oxide, which he introduced to the foods within a vacuumed environment which eliminated the germs and bacteria while maintaining appearances, taste and aroma.

These contributions to food preservation and sterilization revolutionized the way foods were processed, prepared, packed and transported, eliminating spoilage and health hazards and improving efficiency and profitability for food suppliers. In the course of his work, Hall would publish more than 5 scientific papers and receive more than 100 patents. He also served as an advisor to the United States during two World Wars, served on dozens of advisory panels and boards and received hundreds of awards and accolades.
In 1959 Hall retired from Griffith Laboratories and moved to Pasadena, California where he died in 1971. He left behind a legacy as a pioneer in the field of food chemistry and is responsible for improving health conditions in all areas of the food industry.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:54:56 |Display all floors
J. Hawkins

J. Hawkins developed what are now known as metal oven racks to aid in home cooking. The oven racks were based on gridirons, which were metal racks attached to a wooden handle and were placed on a campfire or placed inside of a fireplace to heat or broil various types of meat. By the early 1800's, gridirons were not used as much as most homes had begun using kitchen stoves upon which to cook.

Hawkins received a patent for the improved gridiron on May 26, 1845. The device allowed for different items to be cooked at different level of heat intensity, thus enabling cooks to heat several types of food at once.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:56:20 |Display all floors
Thomas Jennings


Thomas Jennings stands in history as a noteworthy figure for being the first Black person to ever receive a patent, but his life should serve as an example of what was, and what could have been, for Black people in the earliest years of the United States.

Thomas Jennings was born in 1891 and worked in a number of jobs before focusing on what would become his chosen career... as a tailor. Jennings' skills were so admired that people near and far came to him to alter or custom-tailor items of clothing for them. Eventually, Jennings reputation grew such that he was able to open his own store on Church street which grew into one of the largest clothing stores in New York City.

Jennings, of course, found that many of his customers were dismayed when their clothing became soiled, and because of the material used, were unable to use conventional means to clean them. Conventional methods would often ruin the fabric, leaving the person to either continue wearing the items in their soiled condition or to simply discard them. While this would have provided a boon to his business through increased sales, Jennings also hated to see the items, which he worked so hard to create, thrown away. He thus set out experimenting with different solutions and cleaning agents, testing them on various fabrics until he found the right combination to effectively treat and clean them. He called his method "dry-scouring" and it is the process that we now refer to as dry-cleaning.

In 1820, Jennings applied for a patent for his dry-scouring process. In light of the times, he was fortunate that he was a free man, born in the United States, and thus an American citizen. Under the United States patent laws of 1793 (and later, as revised in 1836) a person must sign an oath or declaration stating that they were a citizen of the United States. While there were, apparently, provisions through which a slave could enjoy patent protection, the ability of a slave to seek out, receive and defend a patent was unlikely. Later, in 1958, the patent office changed the laws, stating that since slaves were not citizens, they could not hold a patent. Furthermore, the court (in the famous case Oscar Stuart vs. Ned case) said that the slave owner, not being the true inventor could not apply for a patent either. In true irony, when many of the southern states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America, CSA President Jefferson Davis signed into law legislation permitting slaves to hold patents. For Thomas Jennings, none of this mattered because as a free man, not only was he able to receive a patent, but he was also to utilize it for his financial gain. In fact, he made a fortune.

What makes Jennings noteworthy is not just that he was an entrepreneur or that he received a patent, or even the fact that he became very wealthy. What is noteworthy is that he took a vast amount of the proceeds of his business and poured it into abolitionist activities throughout the Northeast. In fact, in 1831, he became the assistant secretary for the First Annual Convention of the People of Color in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He passed this sense of self-worth to his daughter Elizabeth, who was forced off of a public bus in New York City which she riding to go to church. Because of her father's prominence and wealth, she was able to obtain the best legal representation and hired the law firm of Culver, Parker, and Arthur to sue the bus company and was represented in court by a young attorney named Chester Arthur, who would go on to become the 21st President of the United States. Ms. Jennings would ultimately win her case in front of the Brooklyn Circuit Court in 1855.

Thomas Jennings will go down in history as the first Black person to obtain a patent, but he should rather be seen as an example of a citizen who made the best of his life and sought to use his good fortune to make life better for those around him.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-1 09:01 PM ]
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