Author: changabula

Black Inventors [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-6-1 20:59:59 |Display all floors
Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson is one of the most interesting inventors ever, not simply because of his invention but more so because of his celebrated and controversial life. Johnson was born on March 31, 1878 in Galveston, Texas under the name John Arthur Johnson and spent much of his teenage life working on boats and along the city's docks. He began boxing in 1897 and quickly became an accomplished and feared fighter. Standing 6' 1" and weighing 192 lbs., Johnson captured the "Colored Heavyweight Championship of the World" on February 3, 1903 in Los Angeles, California and became the World Heavyweight Champion in 1908. He defeated Tommy Burns for the title and thereby became the first Black man to hold the World Heavyweight Title, a fact that did not endear him to the hearts of white boxing fans. Johnson was extremely confident about his capabilities, and defeated everyone he faced with ease. He also bucked many of the social "rules" of the day and openly dated White women. This eventually got him into trouble in 1912 when he was arrested for violation of the Mann Act, a law often used to prevent Black men from traveling with white women. He was charged with taking his White girlfriend, Lucille Cameron, across state lines across state lines for "immoral purposes." Although he and Lucille married later in the year, he was convicted of the crime by Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (who would later become the Commissioner of Major League Baseball) and was sentenced to Federal prison for one year. Before he could be imprisoned, he and Lucille fled to Europe.

Johnson eventually returned to the United States and was sent to Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas. While in prison, Johnson found need for a tool which would help tighten of loosening fastening devices. He therefore crafted a tool and eventually patented it on April 18, 1922, calling it a wrench.

Jack Johnson died on June 10, 1946 in an automobile accident in Raleigh, North Carolina and was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954. Although many boxing fans are unaware of the life of the first Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion, they probably utilize his invention routinely around their homes.
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Post time 2007-6-1 21:04:04 |Display all floors
Lonnie Johnson

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to come up with a great idea, but it certainly doesn't hurt. For Lonnie Johnson, a lifetime of achievement and success at various levels on government and private sector projects could not prepare him for the success the he would ultimately achieve - by building a better squirt-gun.

Lonnie Johnson was born on October 6, 1949 in Mobile, Alabama. His father worked as a civilian driver at Brookley Air Force Base, and his mother was a homemaker who worked part time as a nurse's aide. His father taught Robert and his brothers how to repair various household items, prompting the boys to create their own toys. The boys once made a go-kart out of household items and a lawn mower motor. Although his parents were excited about his interest in science and inventing, they weren't prepared for the time he decided to experiment with a rocket fuel he created with sugar and saltpeter which exploded and burned up part of the kitchen. His talents were more refined when he attended Williamson High School and in 1968, as a senior, took part in a national science competition sponsored by the University of Alabama. There he displayed a remote controlled robot named "Linex" which he built from scraps found at a junkyard and parts of his brothers' walkie-talkie and his sisters' reel-to-reel tape recorder. He placed first in the competition and entered Tuskeegee University on a mathematics scholarship. At Tuskeegee he was elected into the Pi Tau Sigma National Engineering Honor Society and graduated with distinction in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He continued on at Tuskeegee and received a Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering in 1975.

After graduation, he took a position at the Savannah River National Laboratory, conducting thermal analysis on plutonium fuel spheres. He later served as a research engineer, developing cooling systems at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He then joined the Air Force and was assigned to the Air Force Weapons Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he served as the Acting Chief of the Space Nuclear Power Safety Section. In 1973, he left the Air Force and took over as Senior Systems Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He worked on the Galileo Mission to Jupiter, but returned in 1982 to his military career. He worked at the Strategic Air Command (SAC) facility in Bellevue, Nebraska and then moved to the SAC Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, California where he worked on the Stealth Bomber. He also worked as Acting Chief at the Space Nuclear Power Safety Section of the Air Force Weapon Laboratory at Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico. A Captain, he was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal. In 1987, Johnson returned to his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he worked on the Mars Observer project, and served as the fault protection engineer on the Saturn Cassini mission project. He later worked as a project engineer for the Kraft mission which studied asteroids.

Earlier, around 1982, he was working on developing a heat pump that would work by circulating water rather than expensive and environmentally unfriendly freon. In his basement at home, he took some tubing with a specially devised nozzle on the other end and connected it to a bathroom sink. When he turned on the faucet, a stream of water shot out of the nozzle across the room with such force that the air currents caused the curtain to move. His first thought was "this would make a great water gun."

Johnson set out to develop a pressurized water gun that was safe enough for children to play with. Water guns at the time very unsophisticated and cheaply made, able to shoot streams of water about eight feet. Using basic tools, he combined a PVC pipe, a piece of plexiglas and an empty plastic soda bottle. His invention worked by partially filling a reservoir tank with water and then using a handle to force air into the chamber. When the trigger was pulled, the air pressure would force water to exit through a narrow hole, launching a blast of water more than 25 feet. He called his invention a "pneumatic water gun" and he continue revising it until it could shoot almost 50 feet. When he had developed a working model (which he called the Power Drencher), he and his partner Bruce D'Andrade began trying to market it while trying to secure a patent for it. They first tried to market it to Daisy Manufacturing, the BB Gun manufacturing giant, but no deal could be worked out after two years of negotiations. After securing the patent in 1991 (the toy was now called the Super Soaker), Johnson was introduced to Al Davis, an executive with Larimi Corp. at a New York City Toy Fair. Two weeks later Johnson was in Larimi's headquarters in Philadelphia. The executives watching the demonstration all exclaimed "Wow!" Their only concern was whether anyone would pay $10.00 for a squirt gun. After signing a deal with Johnson's company (Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc.) they would all be in for a big surprise.

Lonnie JohnsonWithin a year, all involved knew they had a runaway hit. On the popular Tonight Show, host Johnny Carson used a Super Soaker to drench his sidekick Ed McMahon. Within 10 years more than 200 million Super Soakers had been sold. The gun had gone through many modifications and expansions, with new product lines, and became the toy of the decade. Johnson continued inventing and would eventually hold more than 80 patents. For his contributions to science (and in light of his great success with the Super Soaker) Johnson was inducted into the Inventor Hall of Fame in 2000. His company has continued to innovate, creating improved radon detectors, heat pumps and lithium battery products as well as new toy concepts.

Lonnie Johnson didn't have to be a rocket scientist to become a worldwide success.... but it sure gave him something to fall back upon.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-1 09:05 PM ]
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Post time 2007-6-1 21:06:44 |Display all floors
W. Johnson

On February 5, 1884, W. Johnson patented a device made up of a handle attached to a series of spring-like whisk wires used to help mix ingredients. Prior to his eggbeater, all mixing of ingredients was done by hand.and was quite labor-intensive and time-consuming.
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Post time 2007-6-1 21:10:09 |Display all floors
Fred Jones
(Made Mobile Refrigeration Possible)


Fred McKinley Jones is certainly one of the most important Black inventors ever based on the sheer number of inventions he formulated as well as their diversity.

Fred Jones was born on May 17, 1893 in Covington, Kentucky. His father was a white railroad worker of Irish descent and his mother was Black. It is believed that his mother died while he was young and Fred was raised by his father. When Fred was eight years old, his father took him to Cincinnati, Ohio to where they visited St. Mary's Catholic Church rectory. Fred's father urged Father Edward A. Ryan to take Fred in in order to expose him to an environment where he might have a better opportunity for gaining an education. Fred performed chores around the church in return for being fed and housed, cutting the grass, shoveling snow, scrubbing floors and learning to cook. At an early age, Fred demonstrated a great interest in mechanical working, whether taking apart a toy, a watch or a kitchen appliance. Eventually he became interested in automobiles, so much so that upon turning 12 years of age, he ran away from his home at the rectory and began working at the R.C. Crothers Garage.

Initially hired to sweep and clean the garage, Fred spent much of his time observing the mechanics as they worked on cars. His observation, along with a voracious appetite for learning through reading developed within Fred an incredible base of knowledge about automobiles and their inner workings. Within three years, Fred had become the foreman of the garage. The garage was primarily designed to repair automobiles brought in by customers but also served as a studio for building racing cars. After a few years of building these cars, Fred desired to drive them and soon became one of the most well known racers in the Great Lakes region. After brief stints working aboard a steamship and a hotel, Jones moved to Hallock, Minnesota began designing and building racecars which he drove them at local tracks and at county fairs. His favorite car was known as Number 15 and it was so well designed it not only defeated other automobile but once triumphed in a race against an airplane.

On August 1, 1918 Jones enlisted in the 809 Pioneer Infantry of the United States Army and served in France during World War I. While serving, Jones recruited German prisoners of war and rewired his camp for electricity, telephone and telegraph service. After being discharged by the Army, Fred returned to Hallock in 1919. Looking for work, Jones often aided local doctors by driving them around for housecalls during the winter season. When navigation through the snow proved difficult, Fred attached skis to the undercarriage of an old airplane body and attached an airplane propeller to a motor and soon whisked around town a high speeds in his new snowmachine. Over the next few years Fred began tinkering with almost everything he could find, inventing things he could not find and improving upon those he could. When one of the doctors he worked for on occasion complained that he wished he did not have to wait for patient to come into his office for x-ray exams, Jones created a portable x-ray machine that could be taken to the patient. Unfortunately, like many of his early inventions, Jones never thought to apply for a patent for machine and watched helplessly as other men made fortunes off of their versions of the device. Undaunted, Jones set out for other projects, including a radio transmitter, personal radio sets and eventually motion picture devices.

In 1927, Jones was faced with the problem of helping friend convert their silent movie theater into a "talkie" theater. Not only did he convert scrap metal into the parts necessary to deliver a soundtrack to the video, he also devised ways to stabilize and improve the picture quality. When Joe Numero, the head of Ultraphone Sound Systems heard about Fred's devices, he invited Fred to come to Minneapolis for a job interview. After taking a position with the company, Fred began improving on many of the existing devices the company sold. Many of his improvements were so significant, representatives from A.T. & T and RCA sat down to talk with Fred and were amazed at the depth of his knowledge on intricate details, particularly in light of his limited educational background. Around this time, Fred came up with a new idea - an automatic ticket-dispensing machine to be used at movie theaters. Fred applied for and received a patent for this device in June of 1939 and the patent rights were eventually sold to RCA.


At some point, Joe Numero was presented with the task of developing a device which would allow large trucks to transport perishable products without them spoiling. Jones set to work and developed a cooling process that could refrigerate the interior of the tractor-trailer. In 1939 Fred and Joe Numero received a patent for the vehicle air-conditioning device which would later be called a Thermo King.

This product revolutionized several industries including shipping and grocery businesses. Grocery chains were now able to import and export products which previously could only have been shipped as canned goods. Thus, the frozen food industry was created and the world saw the emergence of the "supermarket."

In addition to installing the Thermo King refrigeration units in trucks and tractor-trailers, Jones modified the original design so they could be outfitted for trains, boats and ships.

During World War II, the Department of Defense found a great need portable refrigeration units for distributing food and blood plasma to troops in the field. The Department called upon Thermo King for a solution. Fred modified his device and soon had developed a prototype which would eventually allow airplanes to parachute these units down behind enemy lines to the waiting troops.

For the next 20 years, Fred Jones continued make improvements on existing devices and devised new inventions when necessary to aid the public. Jones died on February 21, 1961 and was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Technology, one of the greatest honors an inventor could receive. Jones was the first Black inventor to ever receive such an honor.
  1. http://www.users.fast.net/~blc/xlhome8.htm
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So, the next time that you go to any fast-food restaurant, or when you see one of those big rigs with the refrigerating units on the front end of the trailer, think of the man who made it possible: Frederick McKinley Jones.

References:
1. Black Contributors To Science and Energy Technology U.S.Department of Energy.
2. Havden,R.C., Eight Black American Inventors, Addison-Wesley

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-4 01:13 AM ]
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Post time 2007-6-1 21:15:46 |Display all floors
Marjorie Joyner

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born in Monterey, Virginia on October 24, 1896, the granddaughter of a slave and a slave-owner. In 1912, an eager Marjorie moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a career in cosmetology. She enrolled in the A.B. Molar Beauty School and in 1916 became the first Black women to graduate from the school. Following graduation, the 20 year old married podiatrist Robert E. Joyner and opened a beauty salon.

She was introduced to Madame C.J. Walker, a well-known Black businesswoman, specializing in beauty products and services. Walker supplied beauty products to a number of the most prominent Black figures of the time, including singer Josephine Baker. With her fame, Ms. Walker was able to open over 200 beauty salon shops across the United States. After Madame Walker's death in 1919, Marjorie was hired to oversee the Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Colleges as national supervisor.

A dilemma existed for Black women in the 1920's. In order to straighten tightly-curled hair, they could so so only by using a stove-heated curling iron. This was very time-consuming and frustrating as only one iron could be used at a time. In 1926, Joyner set out to make this process faster, easier and more efficient. She imagined that if a number of curling irons could be arranged above a women's head, they could work at the same time to straighten her hair all at once. According to the Smithsonian Institute, Joyner remembered that “It all came to me in the kitchen when I was making a pot roast one day, looking at these long, thin rods that held the pot roast together and heated it up from the inside. I figured you could use them like hair rollers, then heat them up to cook a permanent curl into the hair.” Thus, she sought a solution to not only straighten but also provide a curl in a convenient manner.

Joyner developed her concept by connecting 16 rods to a single electric cord inside of a standard drying hood. A women would thus wear the hood for the prescribed period of time and her hair would be straightened or curled. After two years Joyner completed her invention and patented it in 1928, calling it the "Permanent Waving Machine." She thus became the first Black woman to receive a patent and her device enjoyed enormous and immediate success. It performed even better than anticipated as the curl that it added would often stay in place for several days, whereas curls from standard curling iron would generally last only one day.

Marjorie JoynerIn addition to the success found in Madame Walker's salons, the device was a hit in white salons as well, allowing white patrons to enjoy the beauty of their "permanent curl" or "perm" for days. Although popular, the process could be painful as well, so Marjorie patented a scalp protector that could be used to make the experience more pleasant. This too proved to be a major success. Despite her accomplishments and success, Marjorie received none of the proceeds of her inventions as the patents were created within the scope of her employment with Madame Walker's company, which therefore received all patent rights and royalties. Undeterred,in 1945 Joyner co-founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association along with Mary Bethune McLeod. She tirelessly helped to raise money for Black colleges and founded the Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity in an effort to raise professional standards for beauticians. In 1973, at the age of 77, she was awarded a bachelor's degree in psychology from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Marjorie Joyner died on December 7, 1994 at the age of 98. She left behind her a legacy of creativity, ingenuity and selflessness that served to inspire many generations.
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Post time 2007-6-1 21:16:46 |Display all floors
Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born in Monterey, Virginia on October 24, 1896, the granddaughter of a slave and a slave-owner. In 1912, an eager Marjorie moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a career in cosmetology. She enrolled in the A.B. Molar Beauty School and in 1916 became the first Black women to graduate from the school. Following graduation, the 20 year old married podiatrist Robert E. Joyner and opened a beauty salon.

She was introduced to Madame C.J. Walker, a well-known Black businesswoman, specializing in beauty products and services. Walker supplied beauty products to a number of the most prominent Black figures of the time, including singer Josephine Baker. With her fame, Ms. Walker was able to open over 200 beauty salon shops across the United States. After Madame Walker's death in 1919, Marjorie was hired to oversee the Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Colleges as national supervisor.

A dilemma existed for Black women in the 1920's. In order to straighten tightly-curled hair, they could so so only by using a stove-heated curling iron. This was very time-consuming and frustrating as only one iron could be used at a time. In 1926, Joyner set out to make this process faster, easier and more efficient. She imagined that if a number of curling irons could be arranged above a women's head, they could work at the same time to straighten her hair all at once. According to the Smithsonian Institute, Joyner remembered that “It all came to me in the kitchen when I was making a pot roast one day, looking at these long, thin rods that held the pot roast together and heated it up from the inside. I figured you could use them like hair rollers, then heat them up to cook a permanent curl into the hair.” Thus, she sought a solution to not only straighten but also provide a curl in a convenient manner.

Joyner developed her concept by connecting 16 rods to a single electric cord inside of a standard drying hood. A women would thus wear the hood for the prescribed period of time and her hair would be straightened or curled. After two years Joyner completed her invention and patented it in 1928, calling it the "Permanent Waving Machine." She thus became the first Black woman to receive a patent and her device enjoyed enormous and immediate success. It performed even better than anticipated as the curl that it added would often stay in place for several days, whereas curls from standard curling iron would generally last only one day.
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Post time 2007-6-2 01:13:43 |Display all floors
It's quite obvious that black Americans have invented and accomplished more in the past 400 years than the Chinese. Thank you, changabula, the "Anglocized" Chinese, for pointing this out.

Thank you my American brothren fro your contributions to American society.

God bless America!

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