Black Inventors Who Changed The World: Sarah E. Goode
Sarah Elisabeth Goode was born into slavery in Toledo, Ohio 1850. Ever heard of the Murphy bed? Twenty-six years before William Murphy invented his bed, Sarah was making history with her folding cabinet bed. She is noted as the first African American woman to receive a United States patent in 1885, but that honor actually belongs to Judy W. Reed. Goode was supposedly given the accolade of being the first by default, because Reed signed her patent certificate with an X.
With the end of the Civil War, Sarah and her family gained their freedom and moved to Chicago, where she met and married her husband Archibald, who was a carpenter just like her father. Together, the couple had six children and went on to open a successful furniture store. It was during this time that Sarah honed her own carpentry skills, which ultimately led to her entrepreneurial fame. In 1885, she invented the folding cabinet bed to help working-class customers who lived in very small housing. Back then, working-class folks could barely afford their tiny apartments they lived in, much less a home with a separate bedroom. A bed that could folded up to make space became an instant hit.
The precursor to the Murphy bed, the Goode invention could be used as a roll-up desk by day and a bed at night. The desk was fully operational with compartments to store paper, ink, and other writing supplies. It also had drawers to provide storage for clothes, making it quite sturdy and the ideal weight to balance her folding bed. Though modified, the Goode invention is still in use today.