7 Cool Things You Probably Didn't Know Were Invented By African Americans (PHOTOS)

Ericka Sóuter | Feb 12, 2014 Good News

potato chipsThis time of year, we celebrate the efforts of amazing historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. Certainly, if it weren't for their determination and sacrifices in the name of equality and civil rights, the world would not be the same. However, there are many other notable African Americans we should acknowledge this month as well. Their contributions may not have been as magnanimous, but they have impacted many of our lives. You may not know their names at first mention, but I bet you know their work. Take a look at the 7 cool must-haves that were invented by African Americans.

  • Nerf Super Soaker

    1

    Lonnie G. Johnson invented the world's most popular water gun.

  • Potato Chips

    2

    In 1853, George Crum was working as a chef at a resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. One day, a customer sent back his French fries complaining that they were too mushy and not salty enough. Incredibly irritated, Crum cut the potatoes as thinly as possible, fried them until they were practically burnt, and tossed some salt on top of them. He thought he was teaching the diner a lesson, but instead, he loved them. And the potato chip was born. When Crum opened up his own restaurant in 1860, there was a bowl on every table.

  • The Stroller

    3

    These days, there are too many stroller makes and models to count, but once upon a time, there was only one. William H. Richardson is credited with inventing the first reversible child’s carriage so that the bassinet could face out or in toward the parent.

  • The Stoplight

    4

    It's amazing to think that Garrett Morgan only had an elementary school education. He invented the stoplight as well as the safety hoods and gas masks that are used by firefighters.

  • Doorknob

    5

    Can you imagine what your life would be like without this device? Me neither. Osbourn Dorsey is credited with this invention in 1878 and that of the doorstop.

  • Laser Surgery for Cataracts

    6

    Before Dr. Patricia Bath's invention, cataract surgery was a painful, difficult procedure with a mechanical grinder. Those unwilling to undergo it lived with cloudy vision or in total darkness for decades. She changed all that in 1985 when she created the procedure that would give so many their sight back.

  • Ice Cream Scooper

    7

    Alfred Cralle was the first African American in Pittsburgh to receive a patent for an invention. His scooper is now in nearly every household in the country.

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