Can you believe that the “.com” internet domain naming system is 35 years old?! Emmitt McHenry, was the co-founder of Network Solutions, Inc,; one of the early leading internet domain service providers. Before most people became aware of the “world-wide-web,” it was a U.S. government cold war project. Its purpose was to provide a communications network that could withstand a nuclear attack. McHenry and his business partners launched Network Solutions in 1979. They found it challenging to secure financing for the business, so they mortgaged their properties and used credit cards to finance it. Network Solutions became very successful. The firm was able to secure a contract with the National Science Foundation. Their first assignment was to develop the U.S. government’s first domain name addressing system for the internet.
Garrett Morgan (1877-1963) was a prolific inventor and businessman. His inventions of the gas mask and traffic signal are still having an impact even today. The invention that led the way and financed these inventions was hair straightening cream accidentally invented by Morgan. His hair straightening cream made hair less curly and easier to straighten. His accidental discovery of a chemical straightening cream occurred when Morgan observed fabric straightened by a liquid compound. He turned the liquid into cream and launched the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. Morgan also invented a black oil hair dye and a curved tooth comb hair straightener in 1910. His inventions were wildly successful and he used the proceeds to finance his other projects including the gas mask, traffic signal, and a self-extinguishing cigarette.
Born in 1877, Morgan only completed elementary school education. He was the 7th of 11 children. Morgan moved to Cleveland Ohio as a teenager to look for work. He began his career as a mechanic; working on sewing machines. He would later patent an improved version of a sewing machine and opened his own repair shop. His sewing machine repair business was successful. During this time he also married a Bavarian woman, Mary Anne Hasssek. The couple had 3 sons.
It was his patented sewing machine that unexpectedly led to the invention of his hair refining cream. In 1909, he was working on a sewing machine and working with wool fabric, he experimented a chemical solution applied to his sewing needles to reduce friction and prevent scorching of the fabrics by the needle. Morgan noticed that the solution had a smoothing effect on the fabrics. He tested the solution out on a dog and then tried it on himself. He then launched the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. He sold the straightening cream to black customers and used the proceeds to finance other inventions.
In 1914 was when Morgan patented the “safety hood” (gas mask) which facilitated safe breathing. He worked diligently to market the device; even hiring a white man to act as the inventor; after he realized that people weren’t buying his invention because he was black. Morgan would later go on to invent the traffic signal in 1923. He later sold the rights to General Electric for $40,000. He began developing glaucoma in 1943; losing most of his vision as a result. Morgan died in 1963.
Kenyan inventor and engineer Roy Allela is developing technology that allows sign language to be translated into audible speech. Inspired to explore ways to improve communication with a niece who is deaf motivated Allela to explore how technology might be able to bridge the gap. Neither Allela or other family members know sign language. The “Sign-IO” gloves use Bluetooth technology to translate signals from sensors on the glove when a person is making sign language gestures. Continue reading “Kenyan Engineer Roy Allela Creates Gloves That Translate Sign Language To Audible Speech”→
Freddie Figgers (1989 – ), is an African American inventor, entrepreneur, and computer programmer. He is the CEO and founder of Figgers Wireless. The company is located in Quincy, Florida. Figgers’ rise from being abandoned and left in a dumpster at birth to becoming CEO of a company valued at over $62 million is nothing short of amazing! After being abandoned at birth, Figgers was adopted by two loving parents. He got his start in computers at the age of 9, when he received a broken computer which he was able to fully repair.
Upon learning that his father had Alzheimer’s, Figgers invented a shoe with a GPS tracker and a two-way communicator. He would later sell this invention for millions of dollars. At age 12, he was hired as a computer technician. By age 15, he had launched his own cloud computing service. Figgers would become the youngest person in history to hold an FCC license which he would use to launch, Figgers Wireless. It is the sole black-owned company in the country which manufactures its own 4G phone and 5G smartphones.
Jessica O. Matthews is an inventor, venture capitalist, and CEO of Uncharted Power. The company was launched in 2011, as Uncharted Play
The company uses its proprietary “MORE technology” to power kinetic energy solutions for organizations and communities. Uncharted Power is on the cutting edge of kinetic renewable energy solutions.
For those who have seen Black Panther, Matthews is a modern day “Shuri”. Shuri was the younger sister of T’Challa (Black Panther) Matthews holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Nigeria. She recently shared a video on YouTube explaining how the technology used is Tchalla’s and Killmonger’s black panther suit has already been developed and could actually be used today. Check out the video.
Thomas W. Stewart (1823 – 1890) was born in Kalamazoo, MI. He is perhaps, best known for making design improvements to the mop. In 1893, Stewart invented a new mop that had a clamp and springs which allowed the user to press a lever that would wring out the excess water in the mop. He also designed the mop head to be detachable, making it easier to clean and replace.
Stewart also received a patent in 1883 for a station and street indicator. Prior to his invention, there were only street signs that were used to provide warnings at train crossings. Stewart’s invention worked by activating a lever that was built into the train tracks that indicated a train was coming.
Stewart also invented a metal binding machine in 1893. The machine also had the capability of oscillating; making the process of bending steel safer and more efficient.
Joseph N. Jackson (1929 – ) holds 6 U.S. patents for telecommunications and fertility prediction inventions. Jackson’s first patent was for his contribution to a v-chip device that allowed users to block selected content on cable television. This type of technology is commonly used for parental controls. He also holds patents for TV remote control devices. Jackson was not the first person to invent the remote control. The first TV remote controls introduced in the U.S. were created by Zenith in 1950. The remote was called, “Lazy Bones”. However it was not wireless. It was attached to the TV by a long cord. Consumers didn’t like it because it was a frequent trip hazard. Development of a remote control patent goes back much further than 1950. The first wireless remote control device, the “Flash-Matic” was developed in 1955 by Zenith engineer, Eugene Polley. Continue reading “Joseph N. Jackson: Inventor of A TV Remote Control”→
African American inventor, Jeffrey Nash was inspired to invent the Juppy Baby Walker at the age of 56. Nash had a long career in sales of various products. A gifted salesman, he made millions for his employers and in doing so, always thought about how he could also achieve greater independence and financial freedom for himself.
Nash’s opportunity came in 2008. While at his granddaughters soccer game, he saw a woman teaching her child how to walk. In particular, he noticed that the young mother was hunched over and seemed to be uncomfortable. He also noticed that in trying to help the child walk; the mother was pulling on the child’s arms which could have resulted in injury to the child. These observations served as a catalyst for the invention of the Juppy Baby Walker. Upon returning home to Las Vegas after the soccer game, Nash immediately began to work on developing a prototype design of what would become, the Juppy Baby Walker. After 4 attempts, Nash completed the final product design.
At same time, he was launching his new product, the economy was also doing very poorly. Nash was notified by his employer that his pay was being cut, due to the economic downturn. He took this as a sign that it was time for him launch his own business and that’s exactly what he did. He began testing his new invention on the children of customers in the retail store where he was working. Based on their feedback he further refined the product design. He then hired a patent attorney and secured a manufacturing company to begin production. Nash took 3 weeks off from work and began marketing the product in Nevada and California. After 3 weeks, he had sold $12,000 worth of product. Encouraged by the positive response, Nash emptied his 401k, sold his home and car in order to invest in his business. He has since become a successful entrepreneur. Nash received his patent for the Jumpy Baby Walker in 2015. He is still working hard to grow the business. His product is currently available at major retailers such as Walmart, Sears, and Amazon, etc.
Another interesting fact about Jeffrey Nash is that his daughter is married to actor Forrest Whittaker. In launching his company he has not sought endorsement or financial investment in the product from the couple. He feels the product is strong enough to be successful without celebrity endorsement.
The black women in this slide show are TRUE ROYALTY! They should inspire us all! They are diverse in their pursuits and chosen paths. If you don’t know who they are…….It’s time to do some research and learn about their accomplishments!