3 Things You Didn't Know A Black Woman Invented Part 1
Happy Black History Month! Where ever you are in the world, the month of February (and every day) is a special time in American history where Americans can celebrate the contribution that black people have contributed to this country.
I mean... let's be clear, we all know how dynamic black people are but black women!?!? Let's just say .. we (black women) got that "MAGIC" (black girl magic).
This month at Wallway Technologies we are doing a series of articles celebrating black culture in tech and business. Our first series is highlighting 9 inventions by black women in a 3 part series!
INVENTOR #1: Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner
Bathroom Tissue Holder & The Sanitary Belt
Our first inventor is Ms. Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner (1912-2006). Born into a family of inventors Kenner always knew that she was going to make a difference in the world, be creative and acquire patents. Her father, Sidney Nathaniel Davidson was an inventor of a pants presser that could fit in a suitcase. Although his product never took off he was very passionate about encouraging his daughters to think creatively and constantly build. Kenner's maternal grandfather invented a tri-color signal light for trains! Kenner's sister, Mildred Davidson Austin Smith, invented a board game called Family Tradition and trademarked the name.
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner Wikipedia
Mary Kenner filed 5 patents during her lifetime. Her first filed patent was in 1954, The Sanitary Belt. The sanitary belt was one piece of the puzzle to go along with her second filed patent on December 12th, 1957, The Sanitary Belt with Moisture-Proof Napkin Pocket.
The 2 patents together make an improved version of the modern-day pad for women's menstrual cycles. How cool is that!? At the time, there was a company that expressed its interest in taking Kenner's product mainstream but decided not to, once they found out she was black. but are we really that surprised?
However, this didn't stop Mary from inventing. She went on to file 3 more patents: The Bathroom Tissue Holder, The Shower Wall and Bathtub Mounted Back Washer, and the Carrier Attachment for Invalid Walkers. Check out her filed patent applications by clicking the previous links.
INVENTOR #2: Bukola Somide
The World's First Interactive Computer Science Doll
Our second inventor is none other than Nigerian inventor, author, mother, and software engineer Bukola Somide. Bukola invented Somi, the world's very first interactive computer science education doll. Somi is a 14 inch, interactive doll that teaches computer science concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Code, and more to kids.
Somi is just one of Somide's products, she also has a series of computer science activity e-books and coloring books for girls and boys. She is the founder of InnovantTech, an EdTech company that is a spin-off of her non-profit organization, Computer Science Awareness in Black Communities (CompSci ABC). The companies are on a mission to inspire, educate, and bring awareness to the black
Bukola Somide, bukolasomide.com
community about the world of computer science through their products and services. Click here to learn more about Innovant Tech and click here to donate and learn more about CompSci ABC.
Jacob Krol, CNN, 2019
INVENTOR #3: Marie Van Brittan Brown
Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance
Marie Van Brittan Brown Wikipedia
I'm sure you've heard of the ring app before? Well, Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922-1999) basically invented the super early version of the ring app. She was way ahead of her time with The Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance.
The Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance was the first-ever closed-circuit television security system. Her invention literally opened the floodgates for video messaging systems and remote monitoring technology.
Brown's invention came with 4 peepholes that allowed a remote-controlled camera to adjust according to the visitor's height (hence the 4 peepholes) and a 2-way microphone that allowed you to communicate with visitors outside of her home. I mean seriously.. how cool is that!? Mary was featured in the NY Times for her invention and received a National award from the National Scientists committee.
Official Patent drawings of Mary Van Brittan Brown, Google Patents, 1966
Like and comment below to leave your thoughts about the #BHMTech Series and share this article with your friends in celebration of black history month! Part 2 of this series will be released on Tuesday, February 16th.
GET TO KNOW THE AUTHOR: Ariana Waller
Ariana Waller is a technologist, keynote speaker, global tech podcast host of Women in Tech with Ariana, and the CEO of Wallway Technologies technology consulting and development firm. Learn more about Ariana here.