Many of us learn a little bit about Black History during the month of February when we are growing up in school, but it isn’t touched on too much outside of the shortest month of the year. Let’s take a look at some of the technology that we use in our everyday life that would have been impossible without the great efforts and minds of Black inventors!
What is one of the best things to do on a freezing night? For me, here in frigid Minnesota, it’s to wash and dry your bedding and jump into bed with a nice toasty comforter! Nothing keeps me stuck in bed like a nice warm comforter fresh from the drier. That steamy comforter nor your dry clothes you put on in the morning would be possible without the work of George T. Sampson. Sampson was the inventor of the original clothes dryer that paved the way for modern dryers like the Samsung Electric Dryer that not only look beautiful and take care of your laundry needs, but are also finger print resistant!
Now, what if it’s the middle of summer and you spend all day out at the beach and in the sun. What is one of the things you look forward to when you get home? I absolutely love opening the door and getting hit with a gust of cool air from the air-conditioned house. It’s so great that we can set our homes, apartments, and even individual rooms to their own temperatures. You can even adjust your homes temperature from miles away with the Nest Learning Thermostat. It learns your schedule and regulates your home’s temperature accordingly. We’ve come a very long way from the portable refrigeration equipment that Frederick M. Jones created in the late 1930s for trucks that carried perishable food and blood during World War II, but we couldn’t have that comfort without him.
Another great piece of home technology that we would not have without the great mind of a Black Inventor is the home security surveillance system. The first home security system was designed and patented by a Black Inventor by the name of Marie Van Brittan Brown in the late 1960s. Her original design consisted of multiple cameras, and 2-way microphones running to a television in Brown and her husband’s bedroom. They also had a remote that would unlock the door, or alert security or a neighbor if it was an intruder. Today we have security systems that will stream HD video straight to your phone or tablet like the Night Owl Surveillance System that even has 100-foot night vision range. Keep her in mind the next time you have peace of mind with your home surveillance system.
Many of you may be reading this on a device that a Black inventor had a hand in creating. If you’re sitting at a personal computer (PC) like the Dell Inspiron Desktop, then you owe Dr. Mark Dean a big thank you! He was a co-creator of the very first IBM personal computer. His work has also led the color monitor for the PC and the first gigahertz chip. Dean has gone on to receive many awards and continued his education to earn multiple additional degrees as well as educate other engineers.
These are just a few of the things we use in our everyday life that Black Inventors had their hands in making. There are countless other inventions that we use throughout our lives that were created by Black men and women, whether they received the credit for their ideas or not throughout history. Due to Black slaves being unable to own property, including patents, a lot of the work of Black Inventors is credited to the slave master who had no hand in the work. Later inventions were often stolen and patented by white counterparts. So, the next time you are doing laundry, or setting your home thermostat, remember that Black Inventors had a hand in developing that technology! Happy Black History Month!