6 African American Women Inventors and their Innovative Contributions

In the great tapestry of human history, there are threads that are often overlooked, undervalued or outright ignored. Today we’re going to pull on one of those threads to see what unravels. Fasten your seatbelts, because we are about to dive into the world of black female inventors. Yes, you read that right. Black. Black. Inventors.

In this article, we will highlight the incredible talent and significant contributions of six African-American women inventors. From home security systems to revolutionary communication technology, these women have left an indelible mark on the history of innovation. Join us as we explore their achievements and how they have improved our lives through their inventions.

The invisibility cloak of history

History, as we know it, is a bit like a high school popularity contest. The “cool kids” get all the attention, while everyone else takes a back seat. In this case, the cool kids are the white men who are credited with every invention under the sun, from the wheel to the iPhone. But what about black women who also made waves in the world of invention? Well, they’ve been given the invisibility cloak of history, and it’s about time we took it off.

1. Home security system

Let’s start with Marie Van Britton Brown, the woman who invented the home security system. Yes, it is true. The next time you sleep soundly knowing that your home is protected by a state-of-the-art security system, remember to thank Marie. She invented the system in 1966, long before the era of smart homes and the IoT. However, his name is rarely mentioned in the same breath as other inventors. I guess inventing a system that protects millions of homes around the world is not as cool as inventing a phone that can order pizza.

In this section, I will discuss inventor Marie Van Britton Brown and her contribution to the development of the first home security system. I will explain how his innovative idea laid the foundation for the modern security systems we use today.

Marie Van Britton Brown was an African-American woman who lived in a time of racial discrimination and high crime rates in the United States. Concerned about her safety and the slow police response, Marie decided to take action herself. At the age of 40, he developed the first home security system.

His idea was simple but revolutionary. He created four small windows and a moving camera that could look through them. Using television screens and microphones, Marie could see who was at her door without having to be physically present or open the door. In addition, the microphones allowed him to communicate with the person outside his home without directly confronting them or opening the door.

Marie Van Britton Brown’s invention had a significant impact on the security systems we use today. His innovative idea paved the way for future developments and improvements in safety systems. Thanks to it, we can enjoy greater peace of mind and protection in our homes.

2. Fiber optic cable

The following is Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, the physicist who made caller ID and call waiting technology possible. It also played a crucial role in the development of fiber optic cables. You know, those things that allow you to watch your favorite series in high definition. But, for some reason, she is not as famous as the inventor of television. Imagine.

Continuing with outstanding contributions by African-American women, it is important to mention the pioneering work of Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson in the field of physics and her invention of fiber optic cable. This revolutionary technology has transformed our communications and has had a significant impact on the way we interact and share information.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, who became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), laid the foundation for the development of modern optical communication systems. His research on fiber optic technology has made it possible to transmit information through light, which has revolutionized the way we communicate over long distances.

Thanks to their work, we can now enjoy super fast internet and talk to people far away without any problem. Fiber optic technology has improved the efficiency and reliability of our communications, paving the way for future advances in this field. The contribution of Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson has been instrumental in the development and technological progress in our society today.

3. Faco laser probe

There is also Dr. Patricia Bath, the ophthalmologist who invented the Laserphaco probe, a device that revolutionized cataract surgery. Thanks to it, millions of people around the world have been able to recover their sight. But I guess that’s not as impressive as inventing a social networking app where people can share photos of their lunch.

We will now turn our attention to the remarkable inventor, Dr. Patricia Bath, and her invention of the Faco laser probe for cataract surgery. This innovation has revolutionized the field of ophthalmology and has significantly improved the safety and effectiveness of eye surgeries.

Before the invention of the Faco laser probe, doctors had to perform cataract surgery using a mechanical grinder, which involved risks and did not always have successful results. However, thanks to the brilliant mind of Dr. Patricia Bath, a new approach to these surgeries was developed.

The Faco laser probe uses a laser to accurately and safely break up and remove cataracts. This method has proven to be much more effective and less invasive than previous techniques, allowing patients to recover their vision more easily and quickly.

The invention of the Faco laser probe by Dr. Patricia Bath has changed the lives of many people around the world. His contribution to the field of ophthalmology has paved the way for future advances in the treatment of cataracts and other eye diseases.

4. Self-feeding device for amputees

Continuing with the incredible contributions of African-American women, it is imperative to mention the ingenuity of Bessie Blount and her invention of the self-feeding electric device for amputees. This invention has revolutionized the lives of many people who have lost limbs, giving them greater independence and comfort in their daily lives.

Bessie Blount, while working at Bronx Hospital in New York, invented an electrical device that allowed amputees to feed themselves. Using plastic, hot water and basic tools such as a file, ice pick, hammer and plates, he created a working prototype. The device consisted of a tube that delivered small morsels of food into the patient’s mouth. Biting into the tube dispensed the next portion of food from the attached machine.

Thanks to this ingenious invention, amputee patients could control their own feeding without the need for external assistance. This gave them greater autonomy and allowed them to lead a more independent life. Bessie Blount’s self-feeding device is a prime example of how African-American women have contributed significantly to the development of innovative solutions that improve the quality of people’s lives.

5. VoIP Technology

We will now delve into the world of VoIP technology and the outstanding contribution of Marion Croak, an African-American inventor who laid the foundation for this innovative form of communication. VoIP technology, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, has revolutionized our communications by allowing us to make telephone calls over the Internet.

Marion Croak was the mastermind behind the basic rules that made VoIP technology possible. Thanks to their work, we can now enjoy a more efficient and economical way of communicating, whether through phone calls or videoconferences. This technology has facilitated remote work and allowed companies to connect with their employees and customers anywhere in the world.

6. Treatment of leprosy

In this section, I will highlight the work of Alice Augusta Ball and her contribution to the development of an injectable treatment for leprosy. I will explain how his pioneering research has alleviated the suffering of many people affected by this disease, giving them hope for an improved quality of life.

Alice Augusta Ball was a pioneer who became the first African-American woman to earn a degree in chemistry from the University of Hawaii in 1915. With his skills and knowledge, he focused on investigating the effects of chaulmoogra oil on people with leprosy.

Through her work, Alice was able to isolate the fatty acid components of the oil and created a water-soluble compound that could be injected directly into leprosy patients. This injectable treatment was a major breakthrough, as it allowed a more effective and controlled administration of the drug.

The treatment developed by Alice Ball helped many people for more than 30 years, until better drugs were discovered. His innovation was a major step forward in medical research and brought relief to many people suffering from leprosy.

Alice Augusta Ball’s contribution has left a lasting legacy in the field of medicine and has significantly improved the quality of life of people affected by this disease. His work continues to be recognized and appreciated as an important milestone in the fight against leprosy.

It is high time we recognize the contributions of black women inventors and give them the recognition they deserve. So, the next time you’re flipping through your phone, remember to thank Dr. Jackson. The next time you are safe at home, remember to thank Marie Van Britton Brown. And the next time you see the world clearly, remember to thank Dr. Bath.

And while we’re at it, why not dig a little deeper into the history of forgotten inventors? You may be surprised by what you find. After all, history is full of unsung heroines waiting to be discovered.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to upgrade my security system. I hear there is a new model, inspired by Marie Van Britton Brown’s original design. Isn’t it amazing what you learn when you take off the invisibility cloak of history?