The Revolutionary Inventions of Three Black Pioneers
The Black Inventors That Changed the Modern Home Forever
Industry pioneers don’t get enough recognition in modern society, especially when those pioneers are black. Now that it is officially black history month, it’s time that homeowners understand where their modern electricity comes from. Three black inventors changed the history of electricity forever with their contributions, one of which happens to be a black woman inventor. Current homeowners should know these three names because of their contributions to safer lightbulbs, home security systems, and smart home devices. Without their knowledge, strength, and perseverance, the world might not have any or all of these things.
Lewis Latimer’s Carbon Lightbulb Filament
Society owes Lewis Latimer for modern lighting. He made significant contributions to the carbon lightbulb filament and incandescent lightbulb. He is also known for helping develop the telephone and evaporative air conditioner.
Latimer didn’t have a formal education. Instead, he taught himself mechanical drawing while in the Union Navy. After leaving the Navy, he worked with famed scientific inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Hiram S. Maxim. His old New York home is now a museum.
Latimer is likely to be a celebrated man forever, and rightly so.
The Electret Condenser Microphone By James E. West
James E. West and Gerhard Sessler collaborated on the invention of the electret condenser microphone. This microphone turns sound into an electrical signal used in nearly every device today.
Some of the devices that use it include:
- Mobile phones
- GPS devices
- Speech recognition equipment
- Smart home devices
Without this type of microphone, none of these devices would exist in the capacity they do today. Learning to turn sound into an electrical signal is worth dubbing James E. West as an electrical pioneer.
The First Home Security System By Marie Van Brittan Brown
Marie Van Brittan Brown lived in a neighborhood in New York with a high crime rate. She worked as a nurse and worked separate hours from her husband, which meant she was alone most nights. She wanted to figure out a way to answer the door without standing near the door. That is when she designed her home security system.
She called it a closed-circuit television system (CCTV). It consisted of four peepholes, a sliding camera, two television monitors, and a couple of two-way microphones. The security system allowed her to see a person’s height at the door, speak to the person, and unlock her door using a separate device. There was even a security button that would sound the police in an emergency.
In 1969, she and her husband received a patent for their collaborative work on the project and an award from the National Scientists Committee. Their home security system started it all and inspired today’s design for home security systems.
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