February is Black History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the many achievements and contributions of black people who, throughout history, have done so much to make North America the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous place it is today.
MicroFridge is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting black inventors whose inventions and contributions have improved all of our lives and directly impacted our business & products.
The transition from Negro History Week to Black History Month occurred in 1976, when President Gerald Ford officially recognized it as such. Since transforming from a week to a month every American president acknowledges the month of February as Black History Month and picks a theme. The theme for the year 2020 is “African Americans and the Vote” which honors the 100 years since the 19th Amendment which granted women the ability to vote, and the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment which granted black men the ability to vote.
Carter Godwin Woodson (1875–1950)
Known as the “Father of Black History”, Woodson was an author, editor, publisher and historian. His philosophy about history was that it is more than just facts and that it’s essential to know the social conditions of the time to truly understand. He started Negro History Week in 1926, which took place during the 2nd week of February to honor both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays fell during this time. Woodson was also one of the founders of the Association for the Study of Negro Life, which was created to highlight African American contributions to history and society. Woodson’s life’s work helped legitimized black history and its place in American History.
Invention: Improved Refrigerator
While the refrigerator was already in existence, John Standard’s patent was for improvements to the existing model. In the patent, Standard states his invention “relates to the improvements in refrigerators; and it consists in certain novel arrangements and combinations of parts”. These improvements included an ice chamber, separate doors, and air ducts. You could keep bottles of liquid cool , and due to the ice chamber being separate, along with the air ducts, it allowed for easy removal of the bottles without having to worry about losing the cold air. Without John Standard’s improvements to the refrigerator we would be without our freezers and fridges as one unit.
Learn More about J. Standard
Invention: Receptacle for Storing & Preserving Papers
Henry Brown’s invention was essentially a safe. It had compartments to separate documents, especially carbon copy documents. The user of the receptacle could choose which compartment they needed to open and access. It later improved to what we now know as a strongbox and what we sell as the Intelli-Vault Safe which is used in both hotels and college dorms.
Learn More about: Henry Brown
Philip B Downing (1857-1934)
Invention: Street Letter Box
Downing’s invention was improvements to the existing mailbox. It allowed for people who needed to mail something to only have to travel to the street and not the postal service to drop off their items. Not only did this invention bring about convenience but it also made the collection of mail for the postal carriers simpler as well. All mail put into the box went into a bag that was fitted to the street letter box and there was a door for the mailman to retrieve it all, the current mailboxes still function this way. The Danby Parcel Guard wouldn’t be here to help safe guard your packages if it weren’t for John Standard’s improvements.
Marie van Brittan Brown (1922-1999)
Invention: Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance
Marie van Brittan Brown was a nurse living in Jamaica, Queens in New York and wanted to feel safe in her apartment. According to the patent on file “The system includes a video scanning device at the entrance door of the house to scan a visitor outside the door, and includes audio intercommunication equipment inside and outside the door for conversing with the visitor out of the door”. Through her invention we are able to have the security systems we have now, even the camera in the Danby Parcel Guard which allows you to see your package being dropped off.
Fredrick M. Jones (1893-1961)
Invention: Air-Conditioned Transportation
Jones received his engineering license in the state of Minnesota at the age of 20. He went on to serve in the army during World War 1 and was often making repairs to machines and equipment. Jones was constantly inventing, and in addition to his inventions and patents for a refrigerator, he also had patents for improvements for sound equipment
He is most known for creating air conditioning in trucks that carried perishable food. This is how the the U.S Thermo Control Company was founded. We are still benefiting from that invention to this day. U.S. Thermo Control Company continued to grow during World War II with inventions by Jones that helped to preserve blood.
Learn more about: Frederick McKinley Jones
Without these inventors and their ingenuity we wouldn’t have our refrigerators, Intelli-Vault Safes, Danby Parcel Guard, or the Danby Health models. Check out the MicroFridge and Danby websites for our full product lineup.