Black Inventor’s Low Participation in the Patent System

Using data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), economists determined that from 1975 to 2008, the percentage of patents issued to black inventors was less than one percent. This statistic has been questioned since it is difficult to determine how many black inventors actually file patents. Nevertheless, it remains a challenge for the patent system to improve its representation of minority groups.

Thomas Jennings

Black inventors were legally allowed to hold patents before the Civil War. Thomas Jennings was one of the first African Americans to receive a patent for a dry cleaning method in 1821. In addition to Jennings, other notable African American patentees of the period included Henry Blair and Norbert Rillieux. All three patented similar methods of dry cleaning. Despite low participation in the patent system, Black inventors continued to pursue their dreams.

The inventions of Thomas Jennings were revolutionary at the time. His invention was an improvement on a method for dry-cleaning clothes. His patent letter hung above his bed, attracting media attention. Jennings also donated his earnings to abolitionist causes and founded Freedom’s Journal, the first black-owned newspaper in the United States. His work was so successful that his family used the money from the patent to support the abolitionist movement.

His success with the dry-cleaning process gave him the opportunity to buy out his family from slavery. His wife, Elizabeth, was born a slave in Delaware in 1798. She was converted to the status of an indentured servant in New York in 1799. Elizabeth did not receive full emancipation until 1827. Jennings’ contributions to abolition and civil rights movements earned him distinctions during his lifetime.

While it’s possible that Thomas Jennings’ low participation in the US patent system was a result of racism and other factors, he nonetheless remained an active participant in the system until his death. As a result, he received only a limited number of patents. In fact, the Jennings patent generated significant controversy in the United States, as black inventors were considered property of their masters.

The resulting fire led to the destruction of thousands of patents. Before the fire, Jennings’ patents were not numbered. Instead, they were catalogued by name and issue date. However, after the fire, the Patent Office began to number patents. As a result of the fire, copies of Jennings’ patent were assigned an X-patent number. This identifies them as part of a batch that was destroyed. As of 2004, there are about 2,800 X-patents.

Jennings’ father died in 1856, leaving his daughters to carry on his legacy. His daughter Elizabeth Jennings won a benchmark lawsuit before his death. She was an organist in the First Colored Congregational Church in New York City. She was late for church, so a conductor from the Third Avenue Railroad Company ordered her to get off the streetcar. She refused to get off, but a police officer stepped in and ejected her from the streetcar.

Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy is a 19th-century American inventor with upwards of 57 U.S. patents. His most notable invention was a lubricating system for train engines. Although his invention wasn’t particularly newsworthy, it was able to create a brand name that would eventually become synonymous with quality. People began calling his product “the real McCoy” to indicate that it was made of high-quality materials. As a black man, he also faced racism and discrimination in his life and work. Elijah McCoy was born on this date in 1843 in Detroit to George and Emilia McCoy. He attended school in Detroit and Edinburgh.

After completing his education, McCoy joined the Michigan Central Railroad and studied to become a master mechanic and engineer. His work on the railroad brought him to Detroit where he began consulting with various firms. The railroad industry provided additional challenges for McCoy, and he eventually became the founder of the company called the Lubricating Cup Company. He died on October 10, 1929 in Eloise, Michigan.

While a small percentage of Black inventors receive credit for their inventions, Elijah McCoy received more than half of the patents he applied for. At the age of eighty, McCoy patented an improved airbrake lubricator and a vehicle wheel tire. The McCoy Manufacturing Company grew into a major company in Detroit. As a black inventor, McCoy’s work helped improve the American workplace after the Civil War, and his success inspired the skeptical whites. Thirty years later, Berry Gordy took the free market and made American music the way it is today.

The low participation of African-American inventors in the patent system is a significant factor in the history of inventions. Elijah McCoy, for instance, invented the automatic locomotive lubricator in 1872. During the early nineteenth century, there were few Black engineers in the United States, and companies were often hesitant to hire African-Americans. As a result, the patent for his invention, which is a vital part of the story of American innovation, reveals the racial discrimination that affected the early years of this American innovator.

McCoy’s low participation in the invention system is another factor affecting his lack of success in the patent system. Despite his impressive qualifications, McCoy was not hired for a skilled professional position. Eventually, he began working as a fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad. While he was working in this position, he used his free time to experiment with mechanical devices. He concentrated on devices that would make his work easier.

After working as a mechanical consultant for several Detroit area companies, McCoy established his own company, the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company, in which he earned nearly 50 U.S. patents over the course of his lifetime. McCoy’s inventions ranged from lubricating oil cups to improved rubber heels on shoes. He received awards and accolades from Booker T. Washington, who cited him as the inventor of more patents than any other African-American in his day.

Despite his relatively low participation in the patent system, McCoy’s inventions were worth millions. He later sold his patent rights to rich investors, earning modest sums for his work. While he received seventy-two patents in his lifetime, he only retained a few of them, as he was unable to make a living from his inventions. McCoy married Ann Elizabeth Stewart in 1868 and Mary Eleanor Delaney in 1872. Both marriages lasted a half-century, but did not produce children.

After McCoy’s patented invention, dozens of other inventors attempted to duplicate it. While he did eventually obtain patents for his lubricating cup, the quality of his original device was a huge factor in its success. In addition to his first patented invention, McCoy’s lubricating cup was used in other industries, including railroads and steamships. The lubricating cup was the most popular invention in this field.

In his early life, McCoy was a fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad. He learned the trade of lubrication as a fireman and subsequently became an oilman. His work was not as glamorous as it sounds – he shoveled coal into the firebox of a steam locomotive. Nonetheless, he had an incredible reputation as an inventor, and his name became synonymous with the “real McCoy.”

Inventors and Patents From the City of Garden Grove, California
Free Patent Filing Assistance In Glenview Il
Free Patent Filing Assistance In Corning Ny
Sbdc Incubator Accelerator For Startup Founder In Vermont
Inventors and Patents From the City of Suwanee