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black inventors

Garrett Morgan: Learn About The Product He Created That Financed His Traffic Light and Gas Mask Inventions

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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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.

Sources:

https://www.biography.com/people/garrett-morgan-9414691

http://www.ric.edu/faculty/rpotter/morgan.html

http://brownsugarbeauti.com/?p=515

Dr. Marian Croak:  Inventor of (VOIP) Technology Behind Skype, Video Conferencing, And Text-To-Give Messaging

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Dr. Marian Croak (1955 – )

The African American woman that made it possible for us to enjoy video conferencing, and internet/wifi generated phone calls is Dr. Marian Croak. Croak created Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP technology makes it possible for voice communications and other media to be transmitted over the internet (internet protocol or IP).  In 1982, she began her career at AT & T/Bell Laboratories.  At that time Croak anticipated the advent of using the internet to transmit voice communication and other types of media and began to strategize on how to expand capabilities in this area.

Croak has over one hundred patents related to VoIP technologies and an additional one hundred patents pending.  “Text to give” technology that is often used to collect donations during natural disasters and other crises was also developed by Croak.  She filed a patent for this technology in 2005.  This technology was groundbreaking in changing how money is donated to charities and non-profit organizations. After 32 years at AT & T/Bell Laboratories, Croak joined Google in 2014; serving as the Vice President of Engineering.

In this role, she has overseen Google’s expansion efforts in new markets; which included technology for Project Loon.  Project Loon employs the use of balloons to help with increasing the reach of communications technology.  Croak was inducted into the Women In Technology Hall of Fame in 2013.  She enjoys long distance running and is the mother of three adult children.

Sources:

https://blackdoctor.org/525473/dr-marian-croak-creator-of-voip-the-technology-behind-skype-sms-messaging-more/2/

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/croak-marian-r-1955/

http://www.witi.com/center/witimuseum/halloffame/319632/Marian-R.-Croak,-Ph.D.-Senior-Vice-President,-Applications-&-Services-Infrastructure-AT&T-Labs/

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/womens-history-month-salute-marian-croak

 

Janet Emerson Bashen: Software Pioneer

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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Janet Emerson Bashen received a technology patent in 2006. She is President, Founder, and CEO of Bashen Technologies.  Bashen saw a need to help employers with EEO tracking and reporting to more effectively respond to discrimination complaints filed by employees.  She knew that when discrimination claims were filed against companies, paperwork was often lost and took a long time to process.  She created a web based software platform to help employers track this info and streamline their reporting processes.
Continue reading “Janet Emerson Bashen: Software Pioneer”

Marie Van Brittan Brown: Home Security System Inventor

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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Marie Van Brittan Brown & Albert Brown

Black Mail Fast Fact:  Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922 – 1977) patented a home security/surveillance device in 1966. She applied for the patent along with her husband, Albert Brown. The home security/surveillance system was created from a motorized camera to show images on a monitor (patent #3,482,037). An additional feature of the home security system was that a person could unlock a door with a remote control.

In an interview with the New York Times, she shared that she and her husband invented the device due to the slow response times of the police officers in their neighborhood. She felt the invention would help her to feel safer when she was at home alone. Her invention would be a forerunner of today’s modern home security systems.

Check out some of our previous posts:

Ever Wonder What Happened To The Montgomery, AL Bus Rosa Parks Boarded on December 1, 1955?

60th Anniversary Of The Montgomery Bus Boycott – December 1, 2015

Carl Brashear: 1st African American and 1st Amputee To Become A Master Diver In The U.S. Navy

 

Benjamin Bradley: Skilled Inventor

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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USS Dale War Ship

Born a slave in approximately 1830, Benjamin Bradley was the first person to invent a working model of a war ship steam engine.  Born in Annapolis Marylands faculty. While at the Naval Academy he was able to sell his invention. It was powerful enough to operate a small boat. He used the proceeds from this sale to create an even larger model.

Around 1856, Bradley built an engine that was capable of moving a small war ship 16 knots per hour. It was the first sloop of war (war ship with guns on the deck). His invention of the engine is significant because it the first invention capable of powering a war ship. Bradley was unable to get a patent for his invention because he was a slave. The Patent Act of 1793 and 1836 barred enslaved Africans from obtaining patents because they were not considered citizens.  He did however end up selling the invention and used the proceeds to purchase his freedom.

Click on the link below to read about Benjamin Bradley other black inventors who were unable to patent their inventions due to being slaves.

http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/02/11/5-inventions-by-enslaved-black-men-blocked-by-us-patent-office/2/

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