For now, we are going to shift our focus from media scholars to media technologists (inventors, etc.).
First, we give our attention to Granville Woods.
Because of attitudes like these...
In 1913... B.J. Nolan, Tennessee patent lawyer said:
“I never knew a Negro to even suggest a new idea. Much less try to patent one. And I have dealt with them all my life. P.S. I have asked other lawyers around me for data of Negro inventions. And they take it as a joke.”
Granville Woods: His story
- Sometimes called the “Black Edison”
- Born in 1856 in Australia or Ohio
- Went to work at young age
- Mainly self-educated / read anything he could find on electricity.
- Worked as fireman and then engineer on railroad.
Telephone invented in 1870s by Bell
Early 1880s, Telephone Transmitter
Woods: “My invention relates to a method of and apparatus for the transmission of articulate speech and other sounds through the medium of electricity.”
1885: Inventor of telegraphony
A combination telephone and telegraph.
1887 induction telegraph
Woods: “for the purpose of averting accidents by keeping each train informed of the whereabouts of the one immediately ahead of following it, in communicating with the stations from moving trains…”
- Tried to market his inventions himself.
- Sold/Gave up rights to many of his patents to corporations like: American Bell Telephone Company, General Electric and Westinghouse.
- Died 1910 in virtual poverty.
35+ other patents
Why not mentioned in history books along side Edison, Bell, etc.?
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