Black History Month: Inventors Pt. 1

Here at Writers’ Vlogs, we will be exploring many inventions created by African Americans and will be sharing these devised items that we put to use still to this day. Some of these inventors and their developments you may be familiar with, and others you may not. In today’s article, we will be focusing on two famous black inventors by the names of Garrett Morgan and Frederick M. Jones and how their master minds helped pave the way to help us use their creations on a daily basis.

Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan inventor of gas mask and traffic light
Garrett Morgan inventor of gas mask and traffic light

Garrett Morgan is most famous for being the inventor of the well known traffic light and gas mask. Born on March 4, 1877 in Paris, Kentucky by two former freed slaves, Morgan went on in life to become a respected inventor with only having a sixth grade education. He had a mindset of problem solving and was very educated with mechanical items. According to Famous Black Inventors, when he moved to Cleveland, Ohio in his late teens, he became a handyman and was the first to create the newspaper “The Cleveland Call”. He also created the first ever chemical hair straightener. Later in time, he devised the gas mask to protect himself from an incident where he assisted with saving people who were stuck in the tunnel underneath Lake Erie. He then went on to develop the traffic light which was later bought by GE (General Electric) in 1923. After living a life full of achievements, Morgan passed away in 1963 in Cleveland.

Bonus: Morgan became the first black man in Cleveland to own a car.

Frederick M. Jones

Fred McKinley Jones
Fred McKinley Jones inventor of the air conditioned truck

Frederick M. Jones discovered the very first air conditioning unit for military hospitals as well as the refrigerated transportation system for trucks and railroad cars to haul items that needed to stay cool. Jones was born May 17, 1893 in Cincinnati, Ohio and by the age of nine, he had lost both of his parents. After having odd jobs such as working as a janitor and mechanic for cars, he became knowledgeable with mechanical technologies. He later invented the first refrigerated transportation truck that transported food and blood so they would remain cool. Acknowledged for his invention, he was appointed by the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers in 1944. On February 21, 1961, Jones passed away after losing the battle to lung cancer.

Bonus: According to own biography, Jones also created the method of pictures being able to move with sound effects.