Author: changabula

Black Inventors [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-6-3 20:34:01 |Display all floors
Lewis Latimer
(Made Electric Lighting Practical)

Lewis Latimer is considered one of the 10 most important Black inventors of all time...
...not only for the sheer number of inventions created and patents secured but also for the magnitude of importance for his most famous discovery. Latimer was born on September 4, 1848 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His parents were George and Rebecca Latimer, both runaway slaves who migrated to Massachusetts in 1842 from Virginia. George Latimer was captured by his slave owner, who was determined to take him back to Virginia. His situation gained great notoriety, even reaching the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Eventually George was purchased by abolition supporters who set him free.

Train Water ClosetLewis served in the United States Navy for the Union during the Civil War, assigned to the U.S.S. Massasoit gunboat and received an honorable discharge on July 3, 1965. After his discharge he sought employment throughout Boston, Massachusetts and eventually gained a position as an office boy with a patent law firm, Crosby and Gould earning $3.00 each week. After observing Latimer's ability to sketch patent drawings, he was eventually promoted to the position of head draftsman earning $20.00 a week. In addition to his newfound success, Latimer found additional happiness when he married Mary Wilson in November of 1873.

In 1874, along with W.C. Brown, Latimer co-invented an improved of a train water closet, a bathroom compartment for railroad trains. Two years later, Latimer would play a part in one of the world's most important inventions.

In 1876, Latimer was sought out as a draftsman by a teacher for deaf children. The teacher had created a device and wanted Lewis to draft the drawing necessary for a patent application. The teacher was Alexander Graham Bell and the device was the telephone. Working late into the night, Latimer worked hard to finish the patent application, which was submitted on February 14, 1876, just hours before another application was submitted by Elisha Gray for a similar device.

In 1880, after moving to Bridgeport, Connecticut, Latimer was hired as the assistant manager and draftsman for U.S. Electric Lighting Company owned by Hiram Maxim. Maxim was the chief rival to Thomas Edison, the man who invented the electric light bulb. The light was composed of a glass bulb which surrounded a carbon wire filament, generally made of bamboo, paper or thread. When the filament was burned inside of the bulb (which contained almost no air), it became so hot that it actually glowed. Thus by passing electricity into the bulb, Edison had been able to cause the glowing bright light to emanate within a room. Before this time most lighting was delivered either through candles or through gas lamps or kerosene lanterns. Maxim greatly desired to improve on Edison's light bulb and focused on the main weakness of Edison's bulb - their short life span (generally only a few days.) Latimer set out to make a longer lasting bulb.

Maxim Electric LampLatimer devised a way of encasing the filament within an cardboard envelope which prevented the carbon from breaking and thereby provided a much longer life to the bulb and hence made the bulbs less expensive and more efficient. This enabled electric lighting to be installed within homes and throughout streets

Latimer applied for a patent for the "Process of Manufacturing Carbons" and it was granted in January 1882. Because he was working at the time for US Electric Lighting Company, he was forced to assign the patent to the company, and thus lost out on the enormous financial rewards which would result. Around this time, Latimer, along with Joseph V. Nichols received a patent for an improved incandescent lamp which utilized a more efficient way of connecting the carbon filament to the lead wires at the lamp base. Hiram Maxim named this invention the "Maxim Electric Lamp."

Latimer abilities in electric lighting became well known and soon he was sought after to continue to improve on incandescent lighting as well as arc lighting. Eventually, as more major cities began wiring their streets for electric lighting, Latimer was dispatched to lead the planning team. He helped to install the first electric plants in Philadelphia, New York City and Montreal and oversaw the installation of lighting in railroad stations, government building and major thoroughfares in Canada, New England and London.

Edison Pioneers Certificate
In 1890, Latimer, having been hired by Thomas Edison, began working in the legal department of Edison Electric Light Company, serving as the chief draftsman and patent expert. In this capacity he drafted drawings and documents related to Edison patents, inspected plants in search of infringers of Edison's patents, conducted patent searches and testified in court proceeding on Edison's behalf. Later that year wrote the worlds most thorough book on electric lighting, "Incandescent Electric Lighting: A Practical Description of the Edison System." Lewis was named one of the charter members of the Edison pioneer, a distinguished group of people deemed responsible for creating the electrical industry. The Edison Electric Lighting would eventually evolve into what is now known as the General Electric Company.

Safety Elevator
Latimer continued to display his creative talents over then next several years. In 1894 he created a safety elevator, a vast improvement on existing elevators. He next received a patent for Locking Racks for Hats, Coats, and Umbrellas. The device was used in restaurants, hotels and office buildings, holding items securely and allowing owners of items to keep the from getting misplaced or accidentally taken by others. He next created a improved version of a Book Supporter, used to keep books neatly arranged on shelves.

Latimer next devised a method of making rooms more sanitary and climate controlled. He termed his device an Apparatus for Cooling and Disinfecting. The device worked wonders in hospitals, preventing dust and particles from circulating within patient rooms and public areas.

Throughout the rest of his life, Latimer continued to try to devise ways of improving everyday living for the public, eventually working in efforts to improve the civil rights of Black citizens within the United States. He also painted portraits and wrote poetry and music for friends and family.

Locking Coat and Hat RackLewis Latimer died on December 11, 1928 and left behind a legacy of achievement and leadership that much of the world owes thanks.

Note:
Latimer's wrote a textbook on the installation of incandescent lighting (the first ever written on the subject). See:
  1. http://www.users.fast.net/~blc/xlhome4.htm
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-4 12:41 AM ]
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Post time 2007-6-3 23:05:12 |Display all floors
Originally posted by changabula at 2007-5-29 07:43
More Black Inventors

    * Banneker, Benjamin
    * Bath, Patricia
    * Beard, Andrew
    * Benjamin, Miriam
    * Blair, Henry
    * Boone, Sarah
    * Boykin, Otis ...


what you are preaching here?
what is your purpose?(down load those old stuff from somewhere)..
who would be so care to the things/person back to hundred years ago...
There are more and more inventors not only BLACK ,right?
***always to be yourself***

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Post time 2007-6-4 00:18:19 |Display all floors
Don't get your knickers in a twist!

Originally posted by shelleybelly at 2007-6-3 23:05
There are more and more inventors not only BLACK ,right?


Right!
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Post time 2007-6-4 00:21:25 |Display all floors
Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee was born in 1849 and lived most of his life in Boston, Massachusetts. Lee was very prominent in the food services industry, having begun working as a boy at a bakery. He soon began preparing, cooking and serving food, eventually opening two successful restaurants in the Boston area. In the late 1890s he owned and managed the Woodland Park Hotel in Newton, Massachusetts for 17 years. In 1902, as a way of maintaining an involvement in the food services industry, Lee opened a catering business called the Lee Catering Company which served the wealthy population of Boylston Street in the Back Bay. At the same time he also operated the Squantum Inn, a summer resort in South Shores specializing in seafood. The catering business was a great success and during this time he became interest in eliminating a situation that had become annoying to him.

Lee became very frustrated at what he saw as a waste of bread which would have to be thrown out if it was as much as a day old. Considered a master cook, Lee had long believed that crumbs from bread was quite useful in preparing food, as opposed to cracker crumbs which many others favored.He decided that instead of simply throwing stale bread away, he would use it to make bread crumbs. He thus set out to invent of device that could automate tearing, crumbling and grinding the bread into crumbs. He was finally successful and patented the invention on June 4, 1895. He used the bread crumbs for various dishes including croquettes, batter for cakes, fried chops, fried fish and more. He soon sold the rights to his bread crumbling machine and the Royal Worcester Bread Crumb Company of Boston soon had the devices in major restaurants around the world.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Lee looked for another way of improving food preparation and invented an automatic bread making machine. The machine not only mixed the ingredients, but also kneaded the dough. The machine was so fast and efficient it was able to perform the tasks of five or six men and did so more hygienically and at a much cheaper cost. It also produced a higher quality product, with a much better taste and texture. He received a patent for the machine, which is the basis for machines still in use today.

Joseph Lee died in 1905 and is an honored pioneer in the food preparation industry.
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Post time 2007-6-4 00:23:12 |Display all floors
E. R. Lewis

E. R. Lewis had a problem with people trespassing on his property, especially  poachers. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent people from coming on to his his land would be to hide out on the property at all hours, day and night.

Lewis solved this problem by developing a spring gun, which he patented on May 3, 1887. The spring gun was made of a metal tube which sat atop a block of wood with a wire attached to a trigger mechanism. The other end of the wire ran across the ground or was stretched across an area and attached to a post or a tree. Anyone disturbing the wire would cause the gun to discharge, thereby shooting the trespasser.
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Post time 2007-6-4 00:23:58 |Display all floors
J. L. Love


Many patents are developed in response to the frustration involved in having to perform a repetitive task in order to complete a more important one. For J. L. Love, this repetitive task was having to stop writing notes or letters in able to pull out his knife to whittle his pencil down to a point again.

On November 23, 1897, Love patented the pencil sharpener which called for a user to turn a crank and rotor off thin slices of wood from the pencil until a point was formed.

Four years earlier, Love created and patented his Plasterer's Hawk. This device, a flat square piece of board made of wood or metal, upon which plaster or mortar was placed and then spread by plasterers or masons. This device was patented on July 9, 1895.
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Post time 2007-6-4 00:25:49 |Display all floors
Jan Matzeliger
(Now Everyone Can Afford Decent Shoes.)


Sometimes the greatest inventions are those which simplify necessary tasks. Such is the case with Jan Matzeliger - the man who made it possible for ordinary citizens to purchase shoes.

Jan Matzeliger was born in Dutch Guiana (now known as Surinam) in South America. His father was a Dutch engineer and his mother was born in Dutch Guiana and was of African ancestry. His father had been sent to Surinam by the Dutch government to oversee the work going on in the South American country.

At an early age, Jan showed a remarkable ability to repair complex machinery and often did so when accompanying his father to a factory. When he turned 19, he decided to venture away from home to explore other parts of the world. For two years he worked aboard an East Indian merchant ship and was able to visit several countries. In 1873, Jan decided to stay in the United States for a while, landing in Pennsylvania. Although he spoke very little English, he was befriended by some Black residents who were active in a local church and took pity on him. Because he was good with his hands and mechanically inclined, he was able to get small jobs in order to earn a living.

At some point he began working for a cobbler and became interested in the making of shoes. At that time more than half of the shoes produced in the United States came from the small town of Lynn, Massachusetts. Still unable to speak more than rudimentary English, Matzeliger had a difficult time finding work in Lynn. After considerable time, he was able to begin working as a show apprentice in a shoe factory. He operated a McKay sole-sewing machine which was used to attached different parts of a shoe together. Unfortunately, no machines existed that could attach the upper part of a shoe to the sole. As such, attaching the upper part of a shoe to the sole had to be done by hand. The people who were able to sew the parts of the shoe together were called "hand lasters" and expert ones were able to produce about 50 pairs of shoes in a 10 hour work day. They were held in high esteem and were able to charge a high price for their services, especially after they banded together and formed a union called the Company of Shoemakers. Because the hand lasters were able to charge so much money, a pair of shoes was very expensive to purchase. Hand lasters were confident that they would continue to be able to demand high sums of money for their services saying "... no matter if the sewing machine is a wonderful machine. No man can build a machine that will last shoes and take away the job of the laster, unless he can make a machine that has fingers like a laster - and that is impossible." Jan Matzeliger decided they were wrong.

After working all day Matzeliger took classes at night to learn English. Soon, he was able to read well enough to study books on physics and mechanical science. This enabled him to a number of inventions. Lacking sufficient money, he was unable to patent these inventions and watched helplessly as other people claimed to have created the devises and received the financial rewards they brought. Matzeliger did not despair over these situations because he was already thinking of a more important invention - the shoe laster.

Watching hand lasters all day, Matzeliger began understanding how they were able to join the upper parts of a shoe to the sole. At night he sat devising methods for imitating the mannerisms of the hand lasters and sketched out rough drawings of a machine that might work in the same manner.

Soon, Matzeliger began putting together a crude working model of his invention. Lacking the proper materials, he used whatever scraps he could find, including cigar boxes, discarded pieces of wood, scrap wire, nails and paper. After six months, he felt he was on the right track but knew he needed better materials in order to take the next steps.

Although he attempted to keep his invention a secret, people found out, including the expert hand lasters he was trying to "compete" with. These people criticized and ridiculed him and tried to dissuade him pursuing his goal. He considered on, however, and decided to try to raise money in order to improve his working model. He was offered $50.00 to sell the device he had created up to that point but turned it down, knowing that if people were interested in buying, he was on the right track.

As he improved the device, other offers of money came in, some as high as $1,500.00. Matzeliger could not bear to part with the device he had put so much work into creating so he held out until he reached a deal to sell a 66% interest in the devices to two investors, retaining the other third interest for himself. With the new influx of cash, Jan finished his second and third models of the machine. At this point he applied for a patent for the device.

Because no one could believe that anyone could create a machine which could duplicate the work of expert lasters, the patent office dispatched a representative to Lynn, Massachusetts to see the device in action. In March 1883, the United States Patent Office issued a patent to Jan Matzeliger for his "Lasting Machine." Within two years, Matzeliger had perfected the machine to that point that it could produce up to 700 pairs of shoes each day (as compared to 50 per day for a hand laster.)

Sadly, Matzeliger would only enjoy his success for a short time, as he was afflicted with tuberculosis in 1886 and died on August 24, 1889 at the age of 37. As a result of his work, shoe manufacturing capabilities increased as did efficiency. This allowed for lower prices for consumers and more jobs for workers. Matzeliger left behind a legacy of tackling what was thought to be an impossible task - making shoes affordable for the masses.

  1. http://www.users.fast.net/~blc/xlhome9.htm
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-4 12:43 AM ]
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