The following pages represent a unique and rate collection of African-American Inventors and their Inventions dating from 1845 - 1980. This list originates almost entirely (with some exceptions) from the rare list compiled by Mr. Henry Baker in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Mr. Baker was an African-American who worked for the U.S. Patent Office during these early years.

During this time African-Americans had little to no rights which obviously made entering into contractual and legal agreements very difficult if not impossible. More than enough laws prevented early African-Americans from participating in most legal processes; especially those of contest against white persons concerning ownership, claim, patent infringement, etc. Many African-Americans inventors lost or never gained legal rights to their inventions and those who were fortunate enough to obtain invention patents for example, were seldom recognized. Many slaves who were inventors automatically lost rights to their inventions to their slave master.

Henry Baker took it upon himself to make sure that African-Americans who were awarded patents by the United States Government would be “unofficially” documented. This was very unique and important decision since the U.S. Patent office has never recorded culture or racial identity on patent applications. To accomplish this Henry Baker made a mark (only recognizable by him) on the forms of known African-American inventors who had submitted patents to the Patent Office. Using these marked forms he compiled one of the most important records in African-American history. These documents have become known as “The Henry Baker Papers.” Without them we would never have known the magnitude of the African-American contribution to society and the world.

Thank you Mr. Henry Baker.

The list that follows is alphabetized by the inventor’s name. View List

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