Thank a Black Woman!
Written by: Sabrina Cabrera Rivera
Since it is February, we are seeing a lot of Valentine’s day related content. Love is in the air and it should be very much celebrated. We also have another thing that we should be celebrating which is Black History month.
While we agree that we should celebrate Black history 365 days of the year, Yas Mija wants to show you what 5 inventions that were made by black women.
(Photo: Marie Van Brittan Brown. (Wikimedia)
1. Mary Van Brittan Brown
(Photo: NASA photo of Thomas next to a stack of early Landsat Computer Compatible Tapes, 1979 (Wikimedia)
2. Valerie L. Thomas
We have this incredible queen to thank for our 3D movies.
Thomas is a physicist, inventor, and a NASA data analyst. In the late 70s’, Thomas discovered that concave mirrors could create the illusion of 3-dimensional Objects. She then experimented with how she could visually transmit the 3D illusion.
She was able to patented the illusion transmitter in 1980. Her invention transmits an optical illusion of a 3D image between concave mirrors that looks real on the receiving end. NASA continues to use her technology to this day.
So next time you wanna binge on a classic like Sharkboy and Lavagirl, think of Valerie Thomas when you slip on the 3D shades.
(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
3. Lyda Newman
A decent hairbrush?? You Better thank this black woman.
Newman was living in Manhattan, New York when she first introduced the patented hairbrush in 1898 when she was 13 years old. By getting it patented, she became the third black woman ever to receive a patent.
Newman’s interest in making this newly designed hairbrush began when she would do her hair and started doing other women’s hair after moving to New York. In search to find a more efficient way to fix her clients’ hair, Newman invented the new hairbrush style.
This hair brush was the first to feature synthetic bristles instead of animal hair. The synthetic bristles were firmer, lasted longer, and did not break as easily when used on ethnic hair.
The synthetic bristles could be moved farther apart and combed through hair easier and they could be detached and reattached very quickly, which improved efficiency. It was specially designed to provide ventilation and storage for excess hair.
(Photo: March Kenner)
For anyone who uses pads during their menstrual cycle, please give a warm applause to Kenner.
This woman was truly an innovator. She had several inventions patented by the time she was in her 40s’. Kenner’s first patent was in 1957 for the sanitary belt.
While she originally invented the sanitary belt in the 1920s, she couldn’t afford a patent. Over time she improved her earlier version and other versions that were patented before hers. The sanitary belt aimed to prevent the leakage of menstrual blood on clothing, which was a common problem for women at the time.
The Sonn-Nap-Pack Company got word of this invention in 1957 and contacted her intending to market her invention, however when they discovered that she was Black, they declined. Beltless pads were invented in the 1970s and, as tampons became more popular, women stopped using sanitary belts.
(Photo: Alice Parker)
5. Alice H. Parker
Lastly, we have the inventor of the heater for those cold winter nights.
Parker’s patent was filed on December 23, 1919 for her heating system invention. Her design allowed cool air to be drawn into the furnace, then conveyed through a heat exchanger that delivered warm air through ducts to individual rooms of a house.
The concept of central heating was around before Parker was born, but her design was unique because it used natural gas as its fuel instead of coal or wood that had been previously used.
Parker is said to have been inspired for her design because she felt her fireplace was not effective enough in warming her home through the cold New Jersey winters. Her invention was convenient because it meant that people did not have to go outside and chop or buy wood.
Now we have introduced you to 5 Black female innovators. Did you learn something new? If you believe someone should be added to this list then just leave a comment or tag us on your Instagram or twitter #ablackwomandidthat. We are always ready to learn more about our fellow bellas.