In honor of Black History Month, we find it necessary to pay homage to those in Black history who have paved the way for all of us today. We’re taught in school about Thomas Edison and the light bulb and other great inventions that changed the course of history, but there are many people who looks like you and me to thank that provides our lives with the day-to-day necessities.

1Lewis Latimer, Carbon Filament

Latimer was hired by The Edison Electric Light Company to contribute to the paper filament where he later created the carbon filament, which resulted in the light bulb.

2George Washington Carver, Peanut Butter

Thanks to history books this maybe the most popular Black invention we know of. Carver is credited for inventing peanut butter and is also the driving force behind the earliest instant coffee.

3William H. Richardson, Babby Buggy

Richardson created the baby buggy, the first mode of mobile transportation for babies.

4L. Love, The Pencil Sharpener

Love’s 1897 invention of the pencil sharpener is still found in millions of classrooms today.

5Garrett Morgan, Gas Mask

Morgan is credited for creating one of the world’s first effective gas masks, and one of the earliest versions. He also made the first real traffic signal, which was patented in 1923 by the United States Government.

6Dr. Patricia E. Bath, Laser that cures Cataracts

Dr. Bath invented the laser that cures cataracts. It was patented in 1988 which to date has helped save the eyesight of millions and also restore sight.

7Richard Spikes, Automatic Gearshift

Drivers worldwide can thank Spikes for his 1932 invention of the automatic gearshift used to drive cars.

8Charles R. Drew, Blood Bank

The Blood Bank was thought of and created by Drew, during World War II, after his extensive experience with blood transfusions.

9Lonnie G. Johnson, Water Gun

Johnson invented the popular childhood phenomenon water gun, the Supersoaker.

10Frederick M. Jones, Air Conditioning Unit

We have Mr. Jones to thank for the cool summers and warm winters with his invention of the air conditioning unit in 1949.

11 Henry T. Sampson, Cell Phone

In 1971 Sampson invented the one thing we can’t get our hands off of today – the cellular phone.

12G. T. Sampson, Clothes Dryer

Before we through our clothes in the dryer and went about our day, we were hanging them on clotheslines outside to dry in the sun. Thank you to Sampson, we got the clothes dryer in 1862.

13Alexander Miles, Automatic Mechanism

Though he didn’t directly invent the elevator, Miles improved the method of the opening and closing of elevator doors in 1867. He is also credited to inventing the closing of the elevator shaft by making an automatic mechanism.

14T. Marshall, Fire Extinguisher

This invention has saved many lives and homes from destruction. Marshall invented the fire extinguisher in 1872.

15Robert Flemming, Guitar

Many greats in music have Flemming to thank for his invention of the guitar.

16Paul L. Downing, Four-legged Metal Mailbox

In 1891 he created the four-legged metal mailbox that millions still use today.

17Imhotep, Stethoscope

Travel back to Ancient Egypt for the invention of the stethoscope.

18T. A. Carrington, Stove

Created in 1876, the stove is still in millions of households today.

19Madam C. J. Walker, Straightening Comb

Madam C.J. Walker is widely popular for her Walker Hair Care System and the invention of the straightening comb.

20Burridge & Marshman, Typewriter

This 1885 invention was used to create books, manuscripts and other great forms of writing. Burridge & Marshman is credited for inventing the typewriter.

21Otis Boykin, Artificial Heart Pacemaker Control Unit

There were many versions of the pacemaker created before Boykin’s, but his artificial heart pacemaker control unit is what is still used to help millions to this day.

22Gerald A. Lawson, Lawson’s Home-Video Gaming Console

There would be no Playstation, Wii or Xbox without Lawson’s home-video gaming console. His invention was the first that used interchangeable cartridges.

23Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Caller ID & Call Waiting

Many know that Dr. Jackson was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT (specializing in Physics), but she has made numerous contributions to telecommunications that we take advantage of today; such as touch-tone phones, Caller ID and Call Waiting.

24George E. Alcorn, Imaging X-ray Spectrometer

His invention of the imaging x-ray spectrometer revolutionized the way NASA conducted research.


25Marc Hannah, 3-D Graphics

Hannah invented 3-D graphics technology that is used in special effect films.

26R. Johnson, Bicycle

Johnson created the frame of a bicycle, which is still a form of transportation to many.

27Frederick M. Jones, Refrigerator

There would be tons of food wasted and spoiled daily if it wasn’t for Jones invention of the refrigerator. He founded Thermo King, which became a leading manufacturer of refrigerated transportation.

28Ludwick Marishane, Dry Bath

The University of Cape Town graduate developed DryBath at the young age of 21. This has allowed billions worldwide to bathe who may not have access to clean and healthy water.