James Edward Maceo West (1931- )

The work of James Edward Maceo West transformed the way people around the world hear and transmit sound. In 1962, West, then a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, developed the foil electret microphone in partnership with his colleague Dr. Gerhard M. Sessler. Until that time, most microphones, which transform … Read MoreJames Edward Maceo West (1931- )

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)

Frederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961)

Frederick McKinley Jones was a prolific early 20th century black inventor who helped to revolutionize both the cinema and refrigeration industries.  Over his lifetime, he patented more than sixty inventions in divergent fields with forty of those patents in refrigeration. He is best known for … Read MoreFrederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961)