September 23 1884- Judy W. Reed

GM – FBF – Today, I will share with you as much as I know for at times in our history, we can only go so far. It would have been easier to find another person for today but this history should be know also. Make It A Champion Day!

Remember – “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

Today in our History – September 23, 1884 – Judy W. Reed received Patent No. 305,474 for her invention.

Judy W. Reed was an American alive during the 1880s, whose only record is known from a US patent. Reed, from Washington, D.C., is considered the first African American woman to receive a US patent. Patent No. 305,474 for a “Dough Kneader and Roller” was granted September 23, 1884. The patent was for an improved design of existing rollers with dough mixing more evenly while being kept covered and protected. It is unknown if she was able to read, write, or even sign her name, as her patent is sighed with an “X”.

Reed may not have been able to read, write or sign her name, 
It should be remembered that during the time of slavery, it was unlawful for slaves to be taught to read and write. Any slaves found reading, writing or teaching others, would be harshly punished or killed.

Since women sometimes used their first and/or middle initials when signing documents, often to disguise their gender, and patent applications didn’t require the applicant to indicate his or her race, it is unknown if there are earlier African American women inventors before Reed.

Besides the patent registration, there are no other records of Reed or her life. There is a possibility that an earlier African-American woman received patent rights; however, since there was no requirement to indicate race, and women often used only their initials to hide their gender, it is unknown. It is also of significance that during the time period, it was illegal for any slaves to be literate, and those found reading, writing or teaching others could be punished severely or killed.

Additionally, the first African-American woman to sign her patent with her own signature (as opposed to making her mark) was Sarah E. Goode of Chicago. Her patent, 322,177, granted on July 14, 1885, was for a Cabinet-bed, ” that class of sectional bedsteads adapted to be folded together when -not in use, so as to occupy less space, and made generally to resemble some article of furniture when so folded.” Research more about Black Woman Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

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