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Making the World a Better Place

by The Urban News
Lonnie Johnson created the Super Soaker water gun and the Nerf gun.

Lonnie Johnson, a NASA engineer, created the Super Soaker water gun, making our summers so much cooler.

He also invented a similar toy based on the same principle, the Nerf gun. Johnson is responsible for over 100 patents, including a thermoelectric energy convertor and a thin film lithium battery.

The Murphy Bed was invented by Sarah E. Goode in 1885. Goode was one of the first African American women to receive a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Garrett Morgan was a major contributor: one of his inventions improved the sewing machine, which led to another discovery, a patented hair cream that makes Black hair straighter. That’s right, he created the “relaxer.” In addition, in 1914 he patented a “safety hood,” better known today as a gas mask, and in 1923 he created the three-light traffic signal.

In 1894 John Lee Love invented the hand-cranked pencil sharpener, a portable alternative to wall-mounted pencil sharpeners. Love’s invention, which he called the “Love Sharpener,” could fit into the palm of the hand and stored the pencil shavings.

In 1892, North Carolina native Sarah Boone made improvements to the flat wooden boards used for ironing. Her ironing board was curved and padded to allow garments to be moved around without getting wrinkled. And it could collapse in order to be easily stored.

Thomas L. Jennings invented a process for dry cleaning delicate clothing. He donated the money he earned from his invention to abolitionist causes in the 1820s.

Marie Van Brittan Brown created an early version of the modern home security system in 1969.

Alexander Miles created automatically closing doors for elevators in 1867, thus preventing dangerous accidents.

Dr. Patricia Bath was the first female African American medical doctor to receive a medical patent when she invented a laser cataract treatment device called a Laserphaco Probe in 1986.

Elijah McCoy,

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