20 Best African American Inventors

There have been many African American inventors who have made significant contributions to various fields throughout history. Here are 20 notable African American inventors and some of their inventions:

  1. Lewis Latimer (1848-1928) – Improved the incandescent light bulb and patented a carbon filament, making electric lighting more efficient and practical.
  2. Garrett Morgan (1877-1963) – Invented the three-position traffic signal and a smoke hood (early gas mask).
  3. Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922-1999) – Co-invented the first home security system, which laid the groundwork for modern security systems.
  4. Granville T. Woods (1856-1910) – Held numerous patents for inventions related to railway systems, including the multiplex telegraph, allowing multiple messages to be sent over a single wire.
  5. George Washington Carver (1860s-1943) – Known for his work with peanuts and sweet potatoes, developing new agricultural products and promoting sustainable farming practices.
  6. Patricia Bath (1942-2019) – Invented the Laserphaco Probe, a medical device used to remove cataracts, revolutionizing eye surgery.
  7. Charles Drew (1904-1950) – Developed methods for preserving and storing blood plasma, leading to the establishment of the first blood bank.
  8. Jan Matzeliger (1852-1889) – Invented the shoe-lasting machine, which significantly increased the efficiency of shoemaking.
  9. Otis Boykin (1920-1982) – Created numerous inventions, including a control unit for the pacemaker and a resistor used in computers, radios, and televisions.
  10. Lonnie G. Johnson (born 1949) – Inventor of the Super Soaker water gun, which became one of the best-selling toys in the world.
  11. Mark Dean (born 1957) – Co-invented the IBM personal computer (PC) and played a crucial role in the development of many modern computer technologies.
  12. Sarah E. Goode (1855-1905) – Received a patent for the folding cabinet bed, an early precursor to the modern wall bed.
  13. Elijah McCoy (1844-1929) – Known for inventing an automatic lubricating cup that significantly improved the efficiency of steam engines.
  14. Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) – An entrepreneur and inventor who developed a line of hair care products for black women and became one of the first female self-made millionaires in the United States.
  15. Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) – Created a wooden clock and almanac, and also assisted in the surveying and design of Washington, D.C.
  16. Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950) – Developed a method for processing and preserving blood plasma, which was crucial for medical advancements during World War II.
  17. Frederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961) – Invented a portable air-cooling unit for trucks that allowed the transportation of perishable goods over long distances.
  18. Percy Lavon Julian (1899-1975) – Pioneered the synthesis of medicinal drugs from plant extracts, including a treatment for glaucoma and a synthetic hormone to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
  19. William B. Purvis (1852-1928) – Patented an improved version of the fountain pen, which made it more practical for everyday use.
  20. Norbert Rillieux (1806-1894) – Invented the multiple-effect evaporator, which significantly improved the process of sugar refining.

These inventors, among many others, have made invaluable contributions to society, technology, and science, despite facing significant barriers and discrimination during their lifetimes. Their achievements continue to inspire and impact future generations.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment