Marjorie Stewart Joyner (1896-1994)

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was the inventor of the Permanent Wave Machine thus ensuring her a prominent place in cosmetology history. She helped write the first cosmetology laws for Illinois and founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association with Mary Bethune McLeod in 1945. Joyner was also active in the African American … Read MoreMarjorie Stewart Joyner (1896-1994)

Charles Chappelle (1872-1941)

Charles Ward Chappelle was an American engineer and businessman best known for his award-winning long-distance airplane in 1911 and his tenure as president of the African Union Company from 1913 to 1930. In January of 1911, Chappelle presented at the First Industrial Aero Show, a showcase of aircraft and … Read MoreCharles Chappelle (1872-1941)

Alexander Miles (1838-1918)

Born near Circleville, Ohio to Michael Miles and Mary Pompy, Alexander Miles is the 19th Century African-American inventor known best for patenting his design for improving the automatically opening and closing elevator doors.  The patent was issued on October 11, 1887 (U.S. Patent 371,207). Miles moved to Winona, Minnesota in 1870 … Read MoreAlexander Miles (1838-1918)

Alfred L. Cralle (1866–1920)

Alfred L. Cralle was an African American businessman and inventor who was best known for inventing the ice cream scoop in 1897. Cralle was born on September 4, 1866, in Kenbridge, Lunenburg County, Virginia, just after the end of the American Civil War. He attended local schools and worked for his … Read MoreAlfred L. Cralle (1866–1920)

Richard Spikes (1878-1965)

Richard Bowie Spikes was a prolific inventor with more than a dozen patents to his name. Primarily interested in automobile mechanics, Spikes also sought to improve the operation of items as varied as barber chairs and trolley cars. Professionally, he worked as a mechanic, a saloon keeper, and … Read MoreRichard Spikes (1878-1965)

Thomas Elkins (1818-1900)

An inventor, abolitionist, and trained medical professional, Dr. Thomas Elkins played a significant role in supporting the Underground Railroad in Albany, New York during the 1840s and 1850s. He also made an important contribution to the development of refrigeration techniques, and patented several inventions for other household furniture items during the latter … Read MoreThomas Elkins (1818-1900)