These Inventors Advanced How Electricity is Used in Modern Homes
For many years, African American inventors have produced groundbreaking inventions and technological advancements that revolutionized how electricity was used and generated. This blog post will take a look at three of these pioneering inventors who changed the field of electricity over time with their unique ideas, inventions, and developments. Read on to gain more insight into how these individuals helped shape everyday lives in households even today!
How Lewis Latimer Made Electric Lighting More Accessible
Lewis Latimer was a Civil War veteran who had taught himself to draw and had worked his way up to the position of draftsman in a patent law office. When Thomas Edison successfully created a filament to give off light, Latimer was there to help him patent it. The problem with the original design was that the materials were expensive, and the bulb would only last about 15 hours before burning out.
Latimer, a Renaissance man known not only for his inventions but also his painting and poetry, set to work on making the lightbulb better. He invented an improved carbon filament for the lightbulb and a manufacturing process, which significantly increased the burn time and reduced the cost for consumers allowing them to be more accessible. Because of this, he made electric lighting available to all instead of just the wealthiest families.
How James E. West Impacted Everything From Telephones to Hearing Aids
James E. West is an inventor and acoustics engineer who first made his name in sound research during segregation. Along with Gerhard Sessler, West invented the electret microphone. It is a highly sensitive and tiny microphone that is now used in too many electrical devices to count. Some of them include the following:
- Music recording equipment
- Telephones and cell phones
- Hearing aids
- Smart home devices such as voice-activated speakers
How Marie Van Brittan Brown Revolutionized Home Security
Marie Van Brittan Brown lived her whole life in Queens, New York. Her husband was an electrical technician, and she was a nurse. Due to their jobs not conforming to regular business hours, she was often home alone in an area of the city not considered particularly safe. She developed and patented a home security system with surveillance that has inspired most modern security systems today. Her home security system included:
- Peepholes: Her system had three different peepholes at various heights so everyone at the door could be seen.
- Moveable Camera: A camera was aimed at the peepholes and was positioned on a sliding arm so that it could be moved between peepholes. Modern systems use a doorbell camera in the same way.
- Screens: Brown had the camera connected to two screens, one in a living area and one in the bedroom so that she could monitor the door at night. This is a precursor to the modern security wall panel and monitoring doorbell cameras from smartphones.
- Intercom System: A two-way microphone was part of her design to allow people to talk to each other without opening the door.
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