In celebrating Women’s History Month, it is important that we shed light on Black women who have changed our lives with one invention at a time. Just take a look around you. There are products in your household and outside your household that you depend on daily that were invented by a Black woman.
And while school history books may have neglected to inform you just how magical Black women are, stay tuned as we share seven inventions that came from the genius minds of Black women. From hairbrushes to central heating, Black women are responsible for making certain aspects of our lives better.
So before you take these simple pleasures for granted, read below and thank the Black woman inventors today.
Feel safe at home? You have a Black woman to thank for that. Marie Van Brittan Brown invented what is now home security. She and her husband Albert Brown were able to get a patent in 1969 for their original design which included a camera, peepholes, a two-way mic, and an alarm. A modern version of the security system can be likened to the Ring camera.
2.Improved Menstrual Pad
While menstrual pads had already been around, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner’s tweak to the feminine product made it revolutionary. In 1954, Mary invented an adjustable belt to the pad and a moisture-proof pocket. And while the new and improved sanitary napkin was widely used, it was the game-changing adhesive strip added to the bottom of the pad to attach it to the underwear that is still being used today.
In 1898, Lyda D. Newman was the first person to get a patent for the hairbrush after she made changes to the original design by featuring synthetic bristles. Lyda’s design also had spaces between rows that made it easier to clean and it even featured a button on the back that could be opened for cleaning. The original hairbrushes were made of animal hair and so Lyda’s patented brush made them less expensive and easier to manufacture.
In a world of texting and social media, GIFs have become a popular way to communicate with one another. Computer scientist Lisa Gelobter must have had the foresight into today’s world as she is responsible for the animation behind GIFs. Another fun fact about Lisa is that she created the video technology behind the popular streaming network Hulu.
Next time you get up to turn your heater on in your home, thank Alice H. Parker. This inventor created central heating by using a natural gas-fueled furnace in 1919, a time when homes depended on firewood and coals that were concentrated to certain parts in the home.
In April 1892, Sarah Boone changed the way we iron after she patented an improved design to the ironing board. The ironing board was originally created by McCoy, but Sarah’s improvement made it easier to iron women’s clothing such as dresses with its narrow and curved design.
7.The Fruit Press
Juicing is a popular way to get the health benefits we need to nourish our bodies, but did you know that the first fruit press was made by a Black woman? In April 1916, Madeline Turner received a patent after creating the first machine to extract juice from some of our favorite fruits. So, it’s safe to say, she was also the first to have the juice.
Featured image by Getty Images