Inventors and Patents From the City of Winston-Salem

In the city, you’ll find many examples of the city’s storied past as an incubator of new ideas. Inventors from Winston-Salem crafted a variety of products that shaped their communities and the world around them. From a paper-making machine to a folding wheelbarrow, you’ll be amazed by the city’s contribution to innovation.


The City of Winston Salem is home to a vibrant innovation community. In fact, Winston-Salem is the home of four patented inventions. One such invention was developed by B/E Aerospace, a company based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company received a patent for its integrated aircraft signage system on Sept. 3, 2019. Four co-inventors were involved in the development of the invention: Eric Johannessen, Holbrook, New York; Andre Hessling, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Alvin S. Bartolome, Eastvale, California.

The city’s inventors were instrumental in the creation of many modern-day innovations. In 1875, Fenton Foster invented the first practical typesetting apparatus, which was the forerunner of the linotype machine. A few years later, John C. Steel invented a light-weight hand-operated brick truck and went on to establish a leading brick manufacturing company. A number of other notable inventors came from the Winston-Salem area.

The University of Utah’s policy regarding patents is relatively straightforward: the University must agree to protect the interests of its sponsored research and to share the revenue generated by technology transfer. In addition, the University may contract with outside parties to handle patents and manage intellectual property. In exchange, the University is required to pay a percentage of the royalties received from the patent.

Inventors in Winston-Salem

Inventors from the City of Winston-Salem have been recognized for their innovations in many fields. From medicine to container shipping, the city is home to many notable inventors. Some of them were born into slavery, while others developed products to help others. For instance, Benjamin Montgomery was born into slavery and in 1852 invented a steamboat propeller for shallow waters. This invention was crucial in the 1800s, when steamboats were vital in transporting supplies across often shallow waterways. The problem was that these boats would frequently become stuck, delaying supplies and life-saving supplies. Montgomery tried to patent his invention, but was denied a patent because he was a slave. His owners attempted to claim the credit for his invention, but were unsuccessful.

NK Patent Law is actively involved in the innovation community of Winston-Salem. Its patent attorneys regularly speak at events for entrepreneurs and inventors to share their insights on intellectual property law. The company has three North Carolina offices and a Winston-Salem location. Their lawyers specialize in biomedical devices, pharmaceutical compounds, and electro-mechanical systems.

Winston-Salem State University has an interest in inventions by University personnel. These inventions were first developed as part of University research and reduced into practice as a result of employment. The University may contract with an outside organization to manage the patent process.

In addition to Flint Trading, Inc. filed a patent application for a hot-applied thermoplastic composition. The patent was granted on May 10, 2020. Inventors need a patent before their products can be sold. However, patents are not a guarantee of success. According to Dennis Crouch, co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship, only 50 percent of patents are successfully commercialized.

The city of Winston-Salem is home to an innovative environment that fosters invention. The city continues to grow its vibrant innovation community. The entrepreneurial spirit in the community is evident in the numerous new inventions and patents that are created each year.

Black Americans were pioneers in the invention industry during the early American history. Their contributions helped the country’s rapid economic growth. Even in the absence of patents, African-Americans continued to innovate. Today, many countries foster innovation through the patent system, which gives an inventor the exclusive right to commercialize an invention for a limited period of time. This allows black inventors to earn profits through sales and licensing.

Some of the local inventors include Bobby Locke, who invented the Elephant Ear Receiver, an FM receiver with microphone for smartphones. His invention allows people to hear the mixing board directly from the microphone on a smart phone. Another notable inventor is Mike J. Baron, who invented the SlingBaron orbital harmonica dryer. This machine removes saliva from harmonicas, doubles their life expectancy, and has many other uses.

The city is also home to several inventors who have received federal patents. The City of Winston-Salem is proud to be the home of numerous successful inventors, who are now achieving success in the field. In the field of technology, the city has a long history of creating innovations and creating new jobs.

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