Black women inventors have been at the forefront of innovation for centuries.
From pioneering new medical techniques to inventing revolutionary products, black women have made tremendous contributions to science and technology that are often overlooked or forgotten.
This article explores some of these remarkable African American inventors whose inventions continue to shape our lives today.
It is an inspiring testament to the power of determination and perseverance in the face of discrimination and restricted access to resources.
We hope that learning about their accomplishments will encourage more people, especially those underrepresented in STEM fields, to pursue their dreams and create a better future for everyone.
Let’s dive into some of the amazing women and their inventions:
Mary Van Brittan Brown (1922–1999)
Mary Van Brittan Brown was an African American inventor and entrepreneur from Queens, New York.
In 1966, she patented her invention: the first home security system.
This device used TV cameras connected to a motorized door-locking mechanism in order to monitor and protect against intruders.
The creation came about after she experienced several break-ins in her home and wanted something that could offer more protection than a traditional alarm system.
Her invention was revolutionary at the time – it allowed people to monitor their homes day or night without having to wait for police assistance.
Her invention formed the foundation of modern home security systems and is still used today.
In recognition of her contribution to home security technology, Mary Van Brittan Brown was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2017.
Lyda D. Newman (1885–1961)
Lyda D. Newman was an African American inventor and hairdresser from New York City, who, in 1898, patented the first hairbrush with synthetic bristles.
This invention revolutionized the way people groomed their hair and were a major improvement on the traditional pig-bristle brush, which was stiff and uncomfortable.
Newman’s design included long, flexible bristles made from celluloid – making it gentler to use and easier to clean.
Her invention also allowed for the mass production of hairbrushes, making them more accessible and affordable to everyone.
In recognition of her pioneering invention, Lyda D. Newman was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.
Her legacy continues to influence the hair care industry to this day.
Anna Maria Bailey (1908 – 1990)
Anna Maria Bailey was an African American inventor and medical doctor from New York City.
In 1940, she invented a device that allowed for more accurate and consistent readings of blood pressure tests.
This device, which she called the Sphygmomanometer, was a major advancement in medical technology and revolutionized the way doctors diagnose hypertension.
Bailey’s invention is still used today by clinicians around the world and her legacy continues to save countless lives.
In recognition of her achievements, Anna Maria Bailey was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999.
Her revolutionary invention has served as a reminder of how crucial it is for underrepresented groups to have access to resources and opportunities in order to succeed.
Throughout her life, Bailey showed us all that determination and perseverance could achieve great things.
Patricia Bath (1942 – 2019)
Patricia Bath was an African American ophthalmologist, inventor, and educator from New York.
In 1988, she patented the Laserphaco Probe – a device designed to treat cataracts with laser technology, which revolutionized the medical industry.
The device was a major advancement in ophthalmology and allowed for the more precise treatment of cataracts – leading to fewer patient complications and better outcomes.
Bath was also the first African American woman doctor to receive a medical patent, making her an inspiring role model for many.
In recognition of her achievements, Patricia Bath was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.
Her pioneering invention has helped to improve the lives of countless people around the world and her legacy continues to live on.
Sarah Boone (1832 – 1904)
Sarah Boone was an African American inventor from North Carolina who, in 1892, patented the ironing board.
Her invention greatly improved the existing models of flat irons and boards at the time – allowing for more efficient and comfortable ironing.
Sarah Boone’s design featured a collapsible frame with adjustable legs, making it easier to store and transport.
Her invention revolutionized the way people did laundry and was a major step forward in home appliance technology.
In recognition of her pioneering work, Sarah Boone was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.
Her legacy continues to influence the home appliances industry to this day.
Her invention serves as an inspiring example of how dedication and perseverance can lead to great things, no matter one’s background or circumstances.
Bessie Blount Griffin (1914 – 2009)
Bessie Blount Griffin was an African American inventor from Virginia who, in the 1950s, invented a device that allowed paraplegics to feed themselves.
This device, which she named the Feeding Appliance, was a major breakthrough in medical technology and allowed for greater independence for those who were unable to feed themselves due to disability or injury.
Griffin later went on to invent another device that enabled paralyzed individuals to write with a pen.
In recognition of her achievements, Bessie Blount Griffin was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.
Her inventions have gone on to help countless individuals and her legacy continues to inspire young inventors around the world.
Griffin’s story serves as an important reminder of how perseverance and dedication can lead to remarkable accomplishments, regardless of one’s background or circumstances.
Her inventions have had a lasting impact and continue to improve lives today.
Overall, these amazing women have helped shape the world we live in today.
Their stories serve as a reminder of how determination and resilience can lead to great inventions, no matter one’s background or circumstances.
We owe it to them to continue to strive for equality and make sure everyone has access to resources and opportunities in order to pursue their dreams.
These women will forever be remembered as pioneers in their respective fields and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the invaluable contributions they have made to society.