Patricia Carter Sluby, The Inventive Spirit of African Americans: Patented Ingenuity, Praeger, Westport, Connecticut, 2004


".......Wheras inventions by black Americans range from items of vital importance to business and industry;

 Whereas these inventions include the third rail system used in subways (1892), the radiator and steam furnace (1884), the traffic light (1923), the shoe lasting machine (1883), the gas mask (1914), the electric light bulb with a carbon filament (1881), the first practical refrigeration system for longhaul trucks (1942), the synchronous multiplex railway telegraph (1887) the lunar surface ultraviolet camera/ spectograph (1972), and the first working clock made in America (1753);

whereas these inventions also include labor saving devices such as the corn planter (1834), the cotton planter (1836), the lawn mower (1899), the automatic lubricator for heavy machinery and trains(1872) and the railroad car coupler (1897);

Now therefore,  be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of  America in Congress assembled, That March 27, 1988 is designated as "National Black American Inventors Day"......


The above is  an excerpt from a Resolution  introduced by Congressman Floyd Flake of New York City,  U.S. House of Representatives, 100th Congress, 1988. The Resolution is cited in Patricia Carter Sluby's ground breaking text, The Inventive Spirit of African Americans. The author points out, that, by the 1950s, African Americans had made inventions and innovations in innumerable industries, including  'food , shoe, hair, medical, chemical, refrigeration, aviation, and automotive.' They made exceptional contributions in 'electrical, mechanical, civil, electronic, metallurgical, structural, and chemical engineering, including telephony.' Patricia Carter Sluby is a Registered Patent Agent and a former United States primary patent examiner.


This text includes an appendix of about three thousand inventions patented by African Americans and an extensive bibliography consisting of official documents, reports, pamphlets, catalogs and directories, newspapers, periodicals and books.