Three Underrated Black Inventors

andre reboucas photo
Written by Tinaya Sallie

There are many inventors who came, saw and left their marks on history. However, seeing that are so many, many inventors, some have been left to take the back burner to the rest. They should not be recognized only because of the things they created, but they were an oppressed people, who tried to make the best of a racially biased world. Here are three of those gentlemen who fall in this particular category.

Andre Reboucas

This inventor was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the year 1838. He became an engineer after his many years of training at the Military School of Rio de Janeiro and after his studies in Europe. During the Paraguayan war of 1864, he was appointed the post of lieutenant in the engineering corps and this was around the time he developed his first invention. Naval ships were getting more advanced as time went by, so Reboucas managed to create a projectable device that was also immersible, with the purpose of creating an explosion when it hits a ship. We now know it as the torpedo.

Charles Brooks

Born on the 13th of December 1882, Brooks eventually became a pioneer in his own right when he invented the street sweeper truck and later patented it in March 17, 1896. The idea came about when Brooks as going over the fact that the streets were being cleaned manually by brooms and such and workers had to get up close and personal with trash. His invention was comprised of broom-like brushes which pushed debris to the side of the road. However, this invention was not given a warm welcome seeing that many of the manual street sweepers were worried about their jobs and citing that they could do a better job. But time went by a cities got larger with even bigger streets so the street sweeper eventually found its place and is now indispensable.

George Crum

Born named George Speck in 1822, he worked as a trapper and mountain guide in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Later in 1853 he was appointed as head chef for the Cary Moon’s Lake House in Lake Saratoga, New York. One evening he was preparing dinner and decided to make French fries but the guests complained that they were too thick. Getting a bit annoyed, Crum tried another patch slicing the potato very thin and deep fried them. He noticed they came out very crisp and he added salt to them. This was the birth of the potato chip. He went to open his own restaurant and added these chips as an appetizers to meals and they did quite well. However, the invention was never patented so it was eventually mas marketed by many others, transforming into the multi-million dollar industry it is today and also one of the all-time greatest snack foods.


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Tinaya Sallie

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