The Legacy Of Our Icons
All too often, in this fast paced, on demand world, it has become incredibly easy to take for granted the genius of the individuals that equipped us with the everyday tools to make our lives easier from the light bulb, to automatic transmission, even the ice cream scoop. African American inventors have played a huge role in shaping the world we live in today. Some of these heroes and heroines, unfortunately, will not be found in textbook… so we here at the Westside Gazette have compiled a list specifically geared towards recognizing our amazing ancestors. We hope you enjoy and if there’s anyone you would like for us to recognize whether past, present, world renowned, or local, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Granville T. Woods
Born: April 23, 1856 • Died: January 30, 1910
“Living in Cincinnati, Woods eventually set up his own company to develop, manufacture and sell electrical apparatus, and in 1889, he filed his first patent for an improved steam boiler furnace. His later patents were mainly for electrical devices, including his second invention, an improved telephone transmitter.
The patent for his device, which combined the telephone and telegraph, was bought by Alexander Graham Bell, and the payment freed Woods to devote himself to his own research. One of his most important inventions was the “troller,” a grooved metal wheel that allowed street cars (later known as “trolleys”) to collect electric power from overhead wires.
Woods’s most important invention was the multiplex telegraph, also known as the “induction telegraph,” or block system, in 1887. The device allowed men to communicate by voice over telegraph wires, ultimately helping to speed up important communications and, subsequently, preventing crucial errors such as train accidents. Woods defeated Thomas Edison’s lawsuit that challenged his patent, and turned down Edison’s offer to make him a partner. Thereafter, Woods was often known as “Black Edison.”
After receiving the patent for the multiplex telegraph, Woods reorganized his Cincinnati company as the Woods Electric Co. In 1890, he moved his own research operations to New York City, where he was joined by a brother, Lyates Woods, who also had several inventions of his own.
Woods’s next most important invention was the power pick-up device in 1901, which is the basis of the so-called “third rail” currently used by electric-powered transit systems. From 1902 to 1905, he received patents for an improved air-brake system.” https://www.biography.com/inventor/granville-t-woods