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Thomas Elkins

 patent #221,22

patent #221,22

Thomas Elkins designed a device that helped with the task of preserving perishable foods by way of refrigeration. At the time, the common way of accomplishing this was by placing items in a large container and surrounding them with large blocks of ice. Unfortunately, the ice generally melted very quickly and the food soon perished.

Elkins’ device utilized metal cooling coils which became very cold and would cool down items which they surrounded. The coils were enclosed within a container and perishable items were placed inside. The coils cooled the container to a temperature significantly lower than that inside of a room thereby keeping the perishable items cool and fresh for longer periods of time.

chamber commode

chamber commode

Elkins patented this refrigerated apparatus on November 4, 1879 and had previously patented a chamber commode in 1872 and a dining, ironing table and quilting frame combined in 1870.

An improved chamber commode (toilet) was patented by Thomas Elkins on January 9, 1872. Elkins’ commode was a combination bureau, mirror, book-rack, washstand, table, easy chair, and chamber stool. It was a very unusual piece of furniture.

Arthur Springarn

Arthur Spingarn

Arthur Spingarn

Arthur Barnette Spingarn (1878-1971) was an American leader in fight for civil rights for African Americans.

Spingarn was born into a well-to-do family. He graduated from Columbia College in 1897 and from law school in 1899. He was one of a small group of white Americans who decided in the 1900s (decade)to support the radical demands for racial justice being voiced by W. E. B. Du Bois in contrast to the more ameliorative views of Booker T. Washington. He served as head of the legal committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and one of its vice-presidents starting in 1911. Continue reading

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Fredrick Douglas home

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, іs located аt 1411 W St., SE іn Anacostia, а neighborhood east оf the Anacostia River іn Southeast Washington, D.C.. Established іn 1988 аs а National Historic Site, the site preserves the home аnd estate оf Frederick Douglass, оne оf the mоst prominent African Americans оf the 19th century. Douglass lived іn thіs house, whіch he named Cedar Hill, frоm 1877 until hіs death іn 1895. Perched high оn а hilltop, the site аlsо offers а sweeping view оf the U.S. Capitol аnd the Washington D.C. skyline.

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site іs located аbоut а ten-minute walk frоm the Anacostia Metro station, though walking frоm the station іs often discouraged by National Mall information workers аnd tourist guide books, whо recommend taking а taxi.

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Granville T. Woods

Granville T. Woods

The Black Thomas Edison

Granville T. Woods (April 23, 1856 – January 30, 1910), was an African-American inventor who held more than 60 patents. Most of his work was on trains and street cars. Woods also invented the Multiplex Telegraph, a device that sent messages between train stations and moving trains. Born in Columbus, Ohio, on April 23, 1856, Granville T. Woods dedicated his life to developing a variety of inventions relating to the railroad industry.

Granville T. Woods literally learned his skills on the job. Attending school in Columbus until age 10, he served an apprenticeship in a machine shop and learned the trades of machinist and blacksmith. During his youth he also went to night school and took private lessons. Although he had to leave formal school at age ten, Woods realized that learning and education were essential to developing critical skills that would allow him to express his creativity with machinery.

In 1872, Woods obtained a job as a fireman on the Danville and Southern Railroad in Nebraska, eventually becoming an engineer. He invested his spare time in studying electronics.   Continue reading

N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company

Officers of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1911

Officers of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1911

Since its beginning in 1898, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company has grown to become one of the nation’s most widely-known and successful business institutions. It is the only insurance company domiciled in North Carolina with a charter dated before 1900. North Carolina Mutual is the oldest and largest African American life insurance company in the United States.

The Company’s seven organizers were men who were active in business, educational, medical and civic life of the Durham community. An early financial crisis tested their resolve and the company was reorganized in 1900 with only John Merrick and Dr. Aaron M. Moore remaining. Charles C. Spaulding was named General Manager, under whose direction the company grew and achieved national prominence.  Continue reading

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