BLACK AMERICAN HISTORY (5)
Here and there a USA bondsman, in trying to overcome the drudgery of slavery, became an inventor. The Enslaved Joe Anderson assisted McCormick in developing the harvesting machine. JH and SL Dickinson were granted 12 patents for mechanical appliances used in player piano machinery. AB Albert invented a cotton-picking machine. Shelby J. Davidson invented a mechanical tabulator or adding machine; Robert A. Pelham, a pasting machine; and Andrew F. Hilyer two hot-air register attachments. B.F. JACKSON invented a heat apparatus, a gas burner, an electrotyper’s furnace, a steam boiler, a trolley wheel controller, a tank signal, and a hydrocarbon burner system. Frank J. Ferrell obtained 12 patents for improvements in valves for steam engines. George W. Murray patented 8 inventions of agricultural implements. In 1890 W.B. Purvis invented the pocket fountain pen, with its own ink reservoir that consistently fed ink to the pen’s point. If needed, the reservoir
could also be refilled. He also invented machinery for making paper bags, most of which were sold to Union Paper Bag Company of New York. Henry Kreamer made 7 different inventions in steam traps. William Douglas secured 6 patents for inventions of harvesting machinery. James Doyle devised the automatic serving system so as to dispense with the use of waiters in cafes. FJ Lowden patented in 1893 a fastener for the meeting rails of sashes, and a key fastener in 1894. JL Pickering of Haiti, James Smith, WG Madison, and HE Hooter were granted patents for airships inventions.
ELIJAH McCOY (1844-1929) changed and modernized transportation. As “the father of Lubrication,” he provided for the continuous flow of oil on moving machine parts. Two of his 57 patents were an “Ironing table” and a “Lawn Sprinkler.” Elijah McCoy–born free in 1844, in the northern part of Canada, to George McCoy and Mildred Goins-McCoy–was one of the most prolific Black American inventors. His parents escaped their plantation in the oppressive slave state of Kentucky. George and Mildred returned to the U.S. to live in Ypsilanti, Michigan when their son Elijah was three-years-old. The young Elijah grew up to be a studious adolescent. At the age of 15, he traveled to Scotland to study mechanical engineering. After becoming certified in his field of study, McCoy returned to the U.S. to work as a fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad. McCoy’s sharp and innovative mind displayed while working for the railroad. He started
developing modifications to the steam-operated engines of trains and ships. As the American Industrial Revolution came to pass in C19 and C20, McCoy’s inventions and modifications helped speed up the process of transporting materials because they made steam engines run faster. Most of his patents were designed to enhance engine lubrication systems. They also helped the engines require less service. He invented an oil-drip cup that was in high demand for steam engine mechanics. Other engineers would make copies of the cup that were not as effective. When mechanics would seek the invention, they would specifically request “The Real McCoy” instead of the cheaper imitations. Though it is widely considered a myth, the term “The Real McCoy” actually came from Elijah McCoy–a clear knowing by Black American historians but, of course, denied by Whites. Though mainstream American historians would have loved to have omitted McCoy’s contributions,
Black Americans and others in the field who know the truth continue to honor his revolutionary work. McCoy dedicated himself towards better mechanical engineering. He lived to be 86-years-old.
In 1897, Andrew J. Beard invented an automatic car-coupling device, sold to a New York car company for $50,000. William H. Johnson invented a successful device dead center in motion—one for a compound engine and another for a water boiler. Joseph Lee patented 3 inventions for kneading dough. Brinay Smart invented a number of reverse valve gears. JW Benton invented a derrick for hoisting heavy weights. John T. Parker invented screws for tobacco presses. Henry A Bowman, after establishing a thriving business in a new way of making flags, a New York firm outstripped him by using his invention. Being unable to hire a competent attorney to protect his invention, he had to quit business. EA Robinson, suffering the same fate, invented a number of devices, such as the casting composite for car wheels, a trolley wheel, a railway switch, and a rail. jabaileymd.com