Black inventions have made a major impact on the world and the way live. Every year during Black History Month, I like to feature the countless Black inventions that made an impact on the world. Below are a few of those inventions.

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The word "paper" is derived from the Greek word for the Cyperus Papyrus Plant. Papyrus is a thick, paper-like material from the pith of the plant and used by Ancient Egyptians and other Mediterranean societies for writing. Though Cai Lun of China is created with improving the way paper was made, the Egyptians in North Africa invented it first.

To create paper, the Egyptians used the interior part of the Papyrus plant and cut the leaves into thin ribbon-like strips. Then they laid them out side-by-side to make a sheet and placed a second layer on top. To make the paper strong they pounded the two layers together to make one sheet. For ages, this method of paper was notably used in scrolls. There was a downside because the surface of this paper was uneven and do to repeated rolling and unrolling of scrolls, the strips started to come apart. Cai Lun was able to improve the design.

Before William D. Davis created the riding saddle, I would think travel by horse wasn't a comfortable experience. It had to be painful and I imagine holding on was difficult as well. William Davis was a Buffalo Soldier and no one knew better than he uncomfortable horseback riding could be, because they were known for taking very long tours. These soldiers were extremely skilled horsemen, spending most of their service guarding the vast borders of the Western frontier in the last quarter of the nineteenth century under the leadership of General Pershing. They endured months of grueling terrain and weather journeys along the vast borders in the Western frontier. The Buffalo Soldiers were stationed in Montana and operated out of forts throughout the state including Fort Missoula, Fort Keogh and Fort Assinniboine.

The famous African American soldiers were 5,000 strong and served in the all-black 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments between 1866 and1851. It was during this time that Davis invented the saddle. When his troops got orders to go after the Creek Indians and flush them out of their territory, they had to travel a 600-miles to get the job done. This, as you can imagine, was a grueling journey for the men and horses as well. Trotting was especially tough on the soldier's backsides, so Davis came up with an idea to make their journey easier to bear by creating the Riding Saddle.

Although never standard army issue, Davis filed a patent on his improvement to the saddle in 1896. His idea added springs beneath the seat and at the tops of the stirrups. He didn't invent the use of springs on saddles, the type of springs, its longevity, and where they were placed were his idea. The Davis saddle provided a smoother ride for cavalry, cowboys, and gentlemen riders.

Oscar E. Brown from Buffalo, NY. received a patent for the Horseshoe creation on August 23, 1892. Brown invention was the double or compound horseshoe, which consisted of an upper shoe secured to the hoof and a lower shoe that could be easily removed and replaced. The main part of this invention was a reliable lock mechanism, that helped secure the lower shoe.

Dentist/Professor/Inventor, George Franklin Grant was an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He holds several patents including Cutting Sheers and the Hackle for the Fish Fly. Grant attended the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1868 and graduated two years later in 1870. In 1871 he became the first African-American falculty member at Harvard and taught in the Mechanical Dentistry Dept. for 19 years.

As a dentist, he specialized in treating patients with congenital cleft palates and even created a prosthetic device to help with normal speech. Dr. Grant was also an inventor and his most famous creation was his improvement on the rubber and metal Percy Ellis' "Perfectum" tee in 1899. He invented the first American wooden golf tee, which consisted of a wooden peg that had a rubber tube and cup on the top to hold the ball. His designed change golf forever, because it was more stable at the bottom and less rigid at the top.

Incredibly, Dr. Grant never promoted or tried to sell his tee so the fact that he designed it went unnoticed for decades. He didn't get any recognition until 1991 when the USGA officially credited him as the original inventor of the wooden golf tee.


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