Raleigh Inventors and Patents
Raleigh has a rich history of inventors and patents. In the 1800s, the city was home to several African-American inventors. One of these, Lunsford Lane, was born into slavery outside Raleigh. Despite being enslaved, he was able to earn a living and invent many new inventions, including a pipe and special tobacco blend. Although he could not secure a patent while in slavery, he eventually moved to New York and eventually secured a patent for his invention.
Beulah Louise Henry, aka Lady Edison, was born in Raleigh in 1887 and became an early innovator and inventor. At the age of nine, she started making sketches of her inventions. As a direct descendant of the founding father of the United States, Patrick Henry, she enjoyed tinkering with things and was nicknamed “Lady Edison” by her peers. She eventually moved to New York City and became a member of numerous scientific organizations. Her patents and innovations helped her to become a prominent member of the world of technology.
Henry’s patents include a bobbin-less sewing machine and an automatic can opener. She also created a hair-cutting machine and a snap-on umbrella with interchangeable covers. Her innovations were popular with the middle class and helped her earn money. She also wrote and painted and volunteered for animal charities. Her innovations earned her 49 patents in total. She died in 1973.
The newspaper accounts help humanize Henry, a professional inventor who was arguably the first woman to obtain a patent. In her later years, Henry would go on to become one of the most prolific female patentees of her time. She is remembered for her diverse, multifaceted inventions.
Henry was a very busy woman. She accepted public speaking engagements and charmed audiences with her spontaneous and frank manner. She once paused during a presentation while demonstrating her parasol technology. She leaned down and sketched a problem, then spoke to say that she had solved it.
Mary Anning was a North Carolina native, but moved to New York City after early invention success. Her most famous invention, the snap-on umbrella cover, helped women coordinate their umbrellas with their clothing. It was a hit, earning her a considerable fortune and establishing her own laboratory.
Beulah Louise Henry was born February 11, 1887. Her parents were artists. She began inventing as a child. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, she had filed her first patents. Her first patent was for a vacuum ice cream freezer, which she invented in 1912. She later applied for patents for a handbag and an umbrella. After the success of her creations, she moved to New York City in 1919.
Louise Henry, Inventors From the City of Raleigh, NC (Dunham Library): This collection includes a list of inventors from the city. A list of their names is below. While not all inventions were created in the city, the names of the Raleigh inventors featured on the pages of the book are notable.
In this exhibit, visitors will learn about five women who invented something in Raleigh. The exhibit “Picturing Women Inventors” features the inspiring stories of these inventors and highlights the breakthroughs they made. In addition, it features the motivations behind each invention. In one case, Marilyn Hamilton invented a lightweight wheelchair while she was paralyzed, and another invention that changed life for the people she touched. The exhibit also includes two young women who invented a circular candle.
Louise Henry’s inventions
There are several things to know about Louise Henry, an American inventor and film actress. Her inventions are varied, but all focus on improving the quality of life for women. These include a hair curler, a vanity case, and a rubber sponge soap holder. She also invented a snap-on parasol that women could change the pattern of at will.
Henry was self-educated, but credited her ingenuity to inspiration. She began describing her ideas when she was nine years old. To make it easier to replicate the idea, she would draw a detailed picture of it. Throughout her career, she received 49 United States patents. In addition to this, she was also responsible for more than 100 other inventions.
In 1912, Beulah Louise Henry received her first patent. This ice-cream maker was a great invention, because it required very little ice to make a delicious ice cream. It was also able to double as a water cooler and could be operated by either a hand or a motor. As her first invention, this device had many uses. It made it easier to prepare a meal and kept ice cream cold.
Beulah Louise Henry was born in Raleigh in 1887. She was already drawing sketches of her inventions at an early age and received her first patent for a vacuum ice cream freezer in 1912. Her next invention, a vacuum ice cream freezer, was patented in 1913. During her lifetime, she accumulated 49 patents and owned a manufacturing company in New York City. She died at age 85.
Henry was a gifted inventor and her innovations were revolutionary in her time. She is considered to be one of the most famous female inventors of all time. She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006. Her inventions have helped improve the lives of many people around the world.
Henry accepted public speaking engagements. Her candidness and spontaneity charmed audiences. In one such lecture, she paused while demonstrating her parasol technology. She then looked down and sketched the problem. After that, she spoke, revealing that she had solved the problem.
Henry also invented several typewriter-related inventions. One of them involved duplicating documents. Before, typists used carbon paper to make copies, but Henry’s invention included an attachment for the typewriter to slip an inked ribbon between pages. This new accessory made the process easier and eliminated the need for carbon paper.
As Henry was single and financially independent, she was regarded by society as a “New Woman.” These women were more prominent after World War I. They wore bobbed hair and worked at a white-collar job. They did not follow the societal norms of their time. Their lives were marked by their success.
Another of Henry’s inventions was a bobbinless sewing machine. This invention was a solution for the problem of thread tangles. Because it did not require a bobbin, the machine would double its speed, allowing seamstresses to take on more jobs. Ultimately, it was a breakthrough that changed the way that seamstresses could earn money.
Louise Henry was not the only North Carolina woman to patent household items. There was also Nannie W. Hunter in Elizabeth City. She improved a soap, and in 1867, she was awarded a patent for her invention. She also designed a hexagonal house, and was the first woman to receive a patent for an architectural innovation.