February 26, 2016 11:37 am

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements by African Americans. What better way to celebrate than to honor the famous African American inventors that have created and researched some of the best products, hardware and technology. Here are 5 famous inventors and their inventions.

Alexander Miles

Did you ever wonder how people were secure in elevators before automatic doors? Alexander Miles designed a method to secure passengers’ safely from the elevator door and shaft. He created an automatic mechanism which triggered the shaft doors to open and close along with the elevator door. The elevators we ride today are very similar to Miles’ invention he patented in 1887.

Elijah McCoy

“All aboard!” Eljah McCoy studied mechanical engineering, but when returning from Scotland to America he could not find work. McCoy became a fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad where he had to work with oiling steam engine parts, which required the train to stop each time. In 1872, he invented an automatic lubricator to help spread the oil evenly over the engine of the train while it was still moving. Railway engineers still request “the real McCoy” systems since copycat devices emerged.

Dr. Mark Dean

Dr. Mark Dean, a computer scientist and engineer, has been a great influence on the age of technology. Working for the company IBM, Dean has developed and created many innovative projects. He is famously known for working with Dennis Moeller to develop the Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) system which lets us plug keyboards, printers and monitors into computers. He also was the co-inventor of the IBM personal computer and color PC monitor.

James E. West

You can thank James E. West the next time you make a phone call or have a Skype date. The Electroacoustic Transducer Electret Microphone, which are 90 percent of microphones used today, was invented in 1962. West and his fellow colleague, Gerhard M. Sessler, developed an inexpensive, compact microphone which is used in cellphones, laptops, baby monitors and hearing aids.

Dr. Shirley Jackson

Following her dreams in the field of physics, Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first African-American women to earn a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is well-known for her experiments, research and developments in telecommunications. Conducting breakthrough research Jackson was behind the start of the portable fax machine, touch tone cellphones and caller ID, to name a few innovations.

African American inventors, innovators and researchers have contributed their lives to the work they love. The inventions and innovations created by these inventors should not only be celebrated in the month of February but all year!

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