Black History

Black History

Lloyd Augustus Hall

Lloyd August Hall

Lloyd August Hall

Born: June 20, 1894
Died: January 2, 1971
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois
Occupation: Chemist and Inventor

Lloyd August Hall received his Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1914, a Master of Science from Northwestern in 1916, and a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Virginia State College in 1944. Dr. Hall has served as junior and senior Sanitary Chemist of the Department of Health laboratories for the city of Chicago, Illinois from 1915 to 1919. He also served as chief chemist for John Morrel and Company of Ottuma, Illinois (1919-1921). He was President of the Chemical Products Corporation, Chicago from 1921 to 1924. Dr. Hall served as Consultant for Griffith’s Laboratories from 1925 to 1929, later as Technical Director and Chief Chemist of Griffith’s Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois from 1929 to 1946. From 1946 to 1959 Lloyd hall served as Technical Director.  Continue reading

Matthew Ashby

cwlogowtext1727 – 1771. Ashby was the son of a black man and Mary Ashby, a white woman who was an indentured servant. He was born free because in Colonial times a child inherited his or her mother’s social status. But under Virginia law, he was also indentured until age 31 and was prohibited from meeting with slaves. Ashby worked as a messenger for Virginia governor Norborne Berkeley and as a carpenter. He acquired material goods, such as a silver watch, books, and candle-making equipment, that seemed out of reach of most black colonists.

He married Ann Ashby, a slave of a bricklayer, and purchased her and their two enslaved children, John and Mary, in 1769 for 150 pounds. Although he owned them, Ashby had to petition the government to win their freedom. John and Mary attended Williamsburg’s Bray School.

Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason

Bridget 'Biddy' MasonBridget 'Biddy' Mason

Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason

1818-1891 - Born into slavery, Biddy Mason traveled from Mississippi to southern California with plantation owners Robert and Rebecca Smith and their family and slaves. But before the Smiths could whisk the group away to the slave state of Utah to retain ownership of their slaves, Mason enlisted the aid of two black Los Angeles businessmen and gained freedom for herself and her family.

Finally able to choose her own path in life, Mason earned a good income as a nurse-midwife for both newly arrived immigrants and wealthy clients and subsequently gained respect in the community. Through donations, she supported charities that helped the needy of Los Angeles and that helped build the first African Methodist Episcopal church in California. In 1989 a memorial depicting Mason’s achievements was erected in Los Angeles.

William B. Purvis

Improved Fountain Pen - patent #419,065 1/7/1890

William Purvis of Philadelphia invented and patented improvements to the fountain pen in 1890. William Purvis made several improvements to the fountain pen in order to make a “more durable, inexpensive, and better pen to carry in the pocket.”

Purvis used an elastic tube between the pen nib and the ink reservoir that used a suction action to return any excess ink to the ink reservoir, reducing ink spills and increasing the longevity of the ink. Fountain pens were first patented as early as 1809.

William Purvis - Bag fastener

Bag fastener - patent #256,856 4/25/1882

William Purvis also invented several other inventions including two machines for making paper bags (which Purvis sold to the Union Paper Bag Company of New York), a bag fastener, a self-inking hand stamp, and several devices for electric railroads. His first paper bag machine (patent #293,353) created satchel bottom type bags in an improved volume and greater automation than previous machines.  Continue reading

Daniel McCree

Chicago inventor Daniel McCree invented a portable fire escape that was designed for the interior of buildings.

McCree’s fire escape could roll and had a carriage that could be raised and lowered.

It was intended to be part of a building’s own fire prevention equipment and stored on location.

D. McCree  improved on the fire-escape used in bigger buildings and created a portable wooden fire escape  that could be attached to a home

McCree patented his portable fire escape on November 11, 1890 and it is the basis for models used today.

(U. S. Patent # 440,322 )

Portable Fire Escape by Daniel McCree

 

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