The first black to be granted a patent was Thomas Jennings, a free black in New York, in approximately 1832. The patent was for a dry cleaning process.
|Permanent Wave Machine|
Madam C.J. Walker/Sarah Breedlove is perhaps the most famous and successful black female inventor. Sales of her hair care products made her the first American black female millionaire. Also, Marjorie Stewart Joyner invented the “permanent wave machine” and a “scalp protector.” She sold the rights of both patents to Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
Among his many other inventions dealing with steam engines, Elijah McCoy invented the “Improvement for Lubricators in Steam Engines.” The phrase “the real McCoy” supposedly originated from the reputation of the quality of McCoy’s products.
You can find other information on black inventors in the library and learn more about their contributions to American innovation.
Carver: Paint and Stain and Process of Producing the Same, Patent #1,541,478
Joyner: Permanent Wave Machine, Patent #1,693,515
McCoy: Improvement for Lubricators in Steam Engines, Patent #129,843
Government Documents Department