Top 15 Things You Didn’t Know Were Made by Black Inventors

Items we use every day were created by black scientists, engineers, athletes


After the Wright Brothers first flight, Albert Jackson advanced the technology and created aluminum propellers for his airships.

Naajia Ali, Staff Cartoonist/Writer

In honor of Black History Month, we give you the 15 everyday items known knows were invented by black Individuals. These inventors made some of the m0st valuable inventions to modern society. It’s interesting to think of how different our lives would be without these items. We have all these brilliant inventors to thank.

1. Light Bulb: Invented by Garrett Morgan

Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. was an inventor and businessman who gave us the most useful everyday tools we use.

2. Modern toilets: Invented by Thomas Elkins

Thomas Elkins was literally super talented: he was a dentist, abolitionist, surgeon, pharmacist, and inventor known for the refrigerating apparatus. But his most valuable to modern society is he reinvented the toilet.

3. Fire extinguishers: Invented by Thomas J. Martin

One of the essential items to have in the house was made possible by this brilliant person. It’s amazing how this simple item saves millions of lives with every home fire that’s put out. 

4. Refrigerator: Invented by Albert T. Marshall

Another essential item for any home was given to us by another black inventor. Before his invention, people relied on boxes with ice and it wasn’t until 1899 when he invented the electric refrigerator – a device that keeps our food cool all the time – makes keeping food cold way easier.

5. Gas Burner: Made by B.F. Jackson

It was 1856 when B.F. Jackson invented the gas burner. Sadly, he wasn’t able to get the credit for his great invention due to slavery. We’ll remember Jackson as the man who gave us one of the best inventions known to humans. 

6. The Hairbrush: Created by Lyda Newman

Lyda Newman was a great Black female inventor and activist, who fixed all our bad hair days with her invention, the first synthetic bristle hairbrush. This great invention led to being the third Black woman to be granted a patent.

7. Airplane Propellers: Invented by Alberto Dumont

After The Wright brothers and Igor Sikorsky invented the first forms of flying, Alberto Santos Dumont took it to the next level when he created aluminum propellers for his airships.

8. Digital Cellphones: Created by Jesse Russell

One of the most used inventions of the century so far and the device you’re probably using to read this article was made by no other than inventor and CEO Jesse Russel.  Russell received countless rewards and was the director of AT&T Bell Laboratory (Bell Telephone Laboratories).

9. A Wrench: Invented by Jack Jackson

Jackson was not only a very successful athlete who won The World Heavyweight Championship title, but he also invented the modern wrench. Jackson wanted a tool that he could use to loosen and tighten things, hence the modern wrench was created.

10.  Color computer monitors: Developed by Mark Dean

Can you imagine a world where all computers are in black and white? Thanks to Dean’s creation of the colored computer monitor we don’t have to. The colored monitor was built in 1981 and continued developing until 1999.

11. Home security system: Invented by Marie Van Brittan Brown

Another lifesaving device for home was invented by this literal superwoman, saving lives throughout her career. Brown developed was a pioneering nurse and inventor.  She and her husband, Albert Brown, devised the video home security system in 1966.

12. The Guitar: Invented by Leo Fender

Music lovers everywhere can thank the inventor for being one of the most influential creations of all time. Fender was inspired to make the guitar when he felt that music at the time sounded the same and want to find a different sound.

13. Starter engine: Invented by Frederick Douglass Patterson

Patterson took cars to the next step with this invention. Patterson inherited the family from his father and began building and developing motorized cars, making him the first African American to do so. His company was the first black-owned car company and was one of the first car companies in American history.

14. Microphones: Co-Invented by James E. West

This invention came a long way from when West created the microphone with his co-inventor, Gerhard M. Sessler. Built in 1960, the microphone opened doors for so many different inventions like cellphones, headsets, karaoke, etc.

15. Refrigerated Trucks: Invented by Frederick McKinley Jones

Veggies, fruit, meat, dairy are all able to survive trips across the country because of the invention of the ice truck. Designed by Frederick McKinley Jones in the 1930s, he was way ahead of his time. He later received a patent for his invention in the 1960s.