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

Ericka Sóuter | Feb 12, 2014 Good News
7 Cool Things You Probably Didn't Know Were Invented By African Americans (PHOTOS)

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


    Image via Michael Bentley/Flickr

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

  • Potato Chips


    Image via Jameson Fink/Flickr

    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


    Image via Wicker Paradise/Flickr

    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


    Image via fivehanks/Flickr

    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


    Images via James Lee/Flickr

    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


    Image via Elaine/Flickr

    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


    Image via Sarah/Flickr

    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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