NewsBlack Women Inventions That Made Life Hella Soft

Black Women Inventions That Made Life Hella Soft

These are women developed technology and inventions that we still use to this day.

Studies have shown that Black women are presented with more resistance throughout the invention process. For applications of similar stature as their male counterparts, they are more likely to have their patents rejected and are even required to include more specific and detailed descriptions of their inventions. This weakens the hold of their patent by making it so specific that it’s more difficult to protect the integrity of their idea.

In celebration of the start of Women’s History Month, here is a list of seven Black women who made our lives easier with their inventions. 

Alice H. Parker 

Parker created the very first central heating system powered by natural gas. It’s often credited as the most important precursor for the HVAC system, which provides heating to entire homes. Parker reportedly was inspired after realizing how inefficient it was to warm a home with wood-burning stoves. The Howard University alum received her patent in 1919.

Shirley Jackson

The first Black woman to graduate with a doctorate in particle physics, Shirley Jackson invented fiber optic cables. These cables are intrinsic to the communication methods we use every day. The cables are the link between telephone, touch dialing, and call-holding systems globally. The speed of the modern cell phone is greatly due to Jackson’s genius.

Sarah E. Goode

Goode holds the patent for the fold-out bed. As the second Black woman to ever receive a patent, Goode was inspired to create the modern fold-out bed after opening a Chicago furniture store with her husband. Although she was born into slavery, Goode’s innovation filled a need for compact furniture to fit comfortably inside smaller, more affordable apartments after the end of the Civil War.

Lyda D. Newman

Newman owns the patent for hair brushes with synthetic bristles. She made haircare more accessible for women of color by creating a brush that wasn’t bristled with animal hair. The animal hair was much too soft to work for textured hair, so she created synthetic bristles more suited for defining and detangling curls.

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner

Sarah Boone

Boone invented the ironing board after teaching herself to read and write. She applied for the patent in 1892 and sought to make the ironing process more efficient by creating it to be well padded, narrow on one end, include collapsible legs, and be burn resistant.

Bessie Blount Griffin

Griffin developed the feeding tube to fill a medical need after World War II. While working as a physical therapist with amputees, Griffin realized that with the lack of mobility, eating was hard for them to do independently. She invented the electric feeding tube, which periodically releases soft, small food pieces into a patient’s esophagus when they bite down. She was awarded a patent for her work in 1948.

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Source: Black Enterprise

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