Name some African Americans whose inventions greatly influenced every day life during the Progressive Era.
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There are any number of unsung heroes among black inventors of the time. Alexander Ashbourne invented and patented processes for processing coconuts on an industrial scale (which was eventually used throughout Asian colonies and countries, and in the Pacific Islands, extracting coconut oil. He also came up with something as simple as a biscuit cutter used by individuals, bakeries and restaurants for decades following.
This answer could include a sizable list, but some of the more well known inventors include George Washington Carver, and Madam C.J. Walker.
George Washington Carver was an American inventor fondly remembered for inventing peanut butter along with more than 400 other plant products. Carver's life was significant not only for his inventions, but also for his contributions to the black community though his work with crops, which he promoted over cotton production in the South.
Madam C.J. Walker became the first African American millionaire. Walker invented a line of hair care products that helped her emerge from poverty into a life of great wealth. In addition to providing favorable work conditions for African American women who sold her products, she made large contributions to African American charities, education, and its fine arts community.
Look for information about African-American inventors and you'll quickly find that American innovation is rich with the contributions of famous black inventors like Elijah McCoy, Lewis Howard Latimer, George Washington Carver and Madame C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove).
In fact, many modern conveniences and necessities are directly related to, or derivative of, the inventions of black inventors: blood banks, the refrigerator, the electric trolley, the dust pan, comb, mop, brush, clothes dryer, refrigerator, lawn mower, traffic signals, the pen and the pencil sharpener.
But what of the present-day counterparts to these historical figures? Did African-Americans just up and stop inventing? The answer, conclusively, is no.
From colonial times through today, Americans of African and Caribbean descent have contributed to the advancement of medicine, physics, industrialization and plain old fun. Famous Black Inventors is pleased to present an introduction to just a few of the many modern-day African-American inventors, as well as biographies of their predecessors throughout American history. Select an inventor from the list on the left to read more about the inventions he or she created.
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