When you pull out a pair of pants or blouse or shirt and need to iron it, ever wonder who invented the ironing board? This wonderful invention that made our live easier? Sarah Marshall Boone was born in North Carolina on January 1, 1832, and is the daughter of enslaved parents. It is unclear as to when she earned her freedom, but some sources believe it was when she married James Boone, a free African American in 1847. The couple had 8 children.
Sarah Boone was an American inventor who obtained a United States patent number on April 26, 1892 for her improvements to the ironing board. Sarah Boone’s design allowed us to iron sleeves and women’s garments better. Her invention was padded and collapsible for easy storage. Prior to her invention, clothing was ironed on a wooden board that would sit on two chairs.
Sarah Boone came from a time when teaching African Americans to read and write was illegal. She was able to overcome this in her late 40’s and she applied for her own patent in 1891 and it was in 1892 that she was awarded the patent.
Sarah Boone died on October 29, 1904 and is buried in a family plot in New Haven.
Thank-you Ms Boone for the ironing board. May we strive as you did when you learned to read and write in your late 40’s and never forget how you have made our everyday lives so much easier!!
We owe our lives to the next great mind I learned about years ago. Garrett Augustus Morgan is an unsung hero in my mind. The countless lives he has saved over the years. While most famous inventors create one major invention, Garrett Morgan created two: the smoke hood (predecessor to the gas mask) and the three-position traffic signal. Garrett Morgan was born on March 4, 1877, in Kentucky. He studied until the Grade 6 level in school. Despite the lack of education, he was blessed with a great analytical mind and a keen sense for business.
In 1908, Garrett Morgan helped start the Cleveland Association of Coloured Men and one year later, he and his wife opened up Morgan’s Cut Rate Ladies Clothing Store.
Garrett Morgan invented and patented the first chemical hair straightener in 1913, started his own sewing equipment repair business and established a newspaper – The Cleveland Call in 1920.
His most famous invention was the smoke hood which was patented in 1914. This invention came about after he saw firefighters struggling from the smoke they encountered in the line of duty.
Traffic signals prior to Garrett Morgan’s invention, had only 2 positions: stop and go. Because there was no interval, many collisions occurred. Garrett Morgan created the three-position traffic signal: stop, go and all-direction stop. After patenting this in 1923, General Electric purchased the rights to this invention.
Garrett Morgan married Madge Nelson in 1896 but divorced her two years later. He remarried Mary Hasek in 1908 and they had three children. He died on July 27, 1963 at the age of 86 years old.
The original prototype of the three-position traffic signal is on display at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum and the Safety Hood is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. At the Emancipation Centennial Celebration in Chicago, Illinois, in August 1963 (one month after his death), Morgan was nationally recognized.
In the Cleveland, Ohio area, the Garrett A. Morgan Cleveland School of Science and the Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant have been named in his honour.
An elementary school in Chicago was also named after him.
An elementary school bearing his name opened in the fall of 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.
In Prince George’s County, Maryland, there is a street named Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard (formerly Summerfield Boulevard until 2002) and the adjacent Metro stop (Morgan Boulevard) also bears his name.
Garrett Morgan was included in the 2002 book 100 Greatest African Americans by Molefi Kete Asante.
Thank you, Mr. Morgan for creating a better and safer world we live in today and for saving all the lives of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Happy Black History Month!!! I had an idea of what I wanted to do for Black History Month and as I searched the web, I was just so thankful for Google because when I was in elementary school or high school I never learned of such great men and women, who made such an impact on our lives and in this world. What would we do if not for them?
I would like to share with you the great minds that belong to such remarkable Black men and Black women, and let’s celebrate how fortunate we are because of them.
While Canada and the United States celebrate Black History Month in February, did you know that Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom celebrate Black History Month in October?
The first recorded free Black person to arrive in Canada was an African man. His name was Mathieu de Coste and he arrived in 1608. He was an interpreter of the Mi’kmaq language to the governor of Acadia. He also spoke French, Dutch and Portuguese. He was born on March 1, 1589 in Africa and died in 1619 in Quebec City. He was a member of an exploring party and is remembered and celebrated as a skilled interpreter. He helped reduce the cultural gap between early French explorers and the First Nations. There is a school in Toronto and two streets (one in Montreal and one in Quebec City), named after him.