Black inventors created some essential items


Garrett Morgan

In honor of Black History Month, we take a look at some of the famous black pioneers that brought new ideas to our modern lives and should be acknowledged. From the traffic light, to the mailbox, even potato chips, here’s a list of brilliant African American creators who changed the way we live today. 

George Crum

Potato chips are probably one of the most popular snacks in the world. From Lays to Flaming Hot  Cheetos, chips have been around for a long time loved by millions of people. But how were they made? George Crum (born George Speck) was an African American chef who worked at Moon’s Lake House in 1853, where he unintentionally invented the famous potato chip. Apparently, a customer complained about their fried potatoes being too thick, and in response, Crum cut the potatoes very thin, salted them, and sent them to the customer. Surprisingly, the customer loved it and it became a hit at the restaurant, later naming them “Saratoga chips”. Then and even today, potato chips remain an American classic snack. 

Can you imagine how many car crashes there would be if we didn’t have those red, green, and yellow lights hanging above the street? Garrett Morgan invented many things during his time, but notably his most famous invention was the traffic light. One day after witnessing a terrible collision accident on the street, Morgan decided it was time to make sure everyone could drive more safely, which is where the idea was born and the traffic light was made. He was later patented November 20, 1923, for his invention and since then, traffic lights have kept the streets more convenient for drivers. 

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Do you have a ring security camera? How about a Vivint? Any home security system installed in your house to keep you safe couldn’t have been possible without Marie Van Brittan Brown. Brown was an African American nurse in Queens, New York who was concerned about her safety in the area she lived in. Police would often take a very long time to arrive after calls had been made due to high crimes in her neighborhood . In 1966, Brown created the first ever home security system with the help of her husband Albert Brown. Thanks to this amazing woman, we can all feel safe and secure inside our homes, even though it is harder to sneak out. 

Black women have a very unique hair texture. It can vary from 4a to 3c curl patterns and can be difficult to find the right hair products in stores. Madame C.J. Walker invented her own hair products that changed the black hair industry. Originally, Walker made hair products after a scalp condition she was suffering from caused her to lose some of her hair. In 1906, she made the “Wonderful Hair Grower” which was Walker’s most popular product, as it made black hair grow longer. She opened her own business in 1908, but then relocated to Indianapolis in 1910, due to her products being extremely popular and became the first black woman millionaire. Since then, cosmetic products for black women have evolved dramatically, but we couldn’t have had such a variety without the  significant efforts of Ms. Walker.