Category Archives: Technology

Day 25 Charles Richard Drew – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Dr. Charles R. Drew

Dr. Charles Richard Drew was an American medical doctor and surgeon who started the idea of a blood bank.  Along with that he figured out a system for the long term preservation of blood plasma.

He found that plasma kept longer then whole blood.  Plasma is prepared by spinning a tube of fresh blood containing an anti-coagulant in a centrifuge until the blood cells fall to the bottom of the tube.  The plasma is then poured off.

Blood Centrifugation Scheme

Dr. Drew set up and operated the blood plasma bank at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, NY.  Drew’s project was the model for the Red Cross system of blood banks, of which he because the first director.

Possible fact: Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job.

Dr. Drew was not a techie, but again the significance of his accomplishment can’t go with out mention.


Day 24 Alexander Miles – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Alexander Miles made improvements to the Electric Elevator patent #371,207 improved the method of the opening and closing of elevator doors.  This was very important because before his invention patrons of the elevator had to close the door manually.  Sometimes this created a situation with bad results because people would not always shut the door, causing accidents with people falling down the elevator shaft.

Here is a copy of the patent information ELEVATOR PDF


Day 23 William B. Purvis – 28 days of Black History in Technology

William B. Purvis (Date of birth unknown) he was an inventor in the late 1800’s.  He was a African American inventor who decided to make a better mouse trap.  Mr. Purvis turned reality upside down when he invented what is known as the “Fountain Pen”.

Fountain Pen Patent# 419,065

I’m guessing through real ups and downs he considered the question ” Why do I always have to carry a bottle of ink with me, why can’t my writing device have ink inside of it?” Honestly the question was probably more complex but I’m just giving you a little story

On January 7, 1890 W.B. Purvis as he was also known received a patent (419,065) for the fountain pen.  Purvis said of his invention “the object of my invention is to provide a simple, durable, and inexpensive construction of a fountain pen adapted to general use and which may be carried in the pocket.”

His invention is still used today, but due to the fact that we hardly learned anything about this African American Inventor shows me why I am writing about these great individuals this month.

I came across a video created by Mt Gilead Missionary Baptist Church promoting black history education month, enjoy.


Fountain Pen Patent PDF


Day 22 William A. Lavalette – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Printing Press

William A. Lavalette an African-America was awarded patent number 208,208 in September 17, 1878 for improvements to the printing press.

It was very hard to find any information about William Lavalette, it was even harder to but, I was able to find the actual drawing of these new improvements after much searching.

Just know that as you read a book, newspaper, magazine or other printed materials, Mr. Lavelette probably has part of his lifes work in your hands.


Day 21 Henry T. Sampson, Jr. – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Henry T. Sampson, Jr.

Henry Thomas Sampson, Jr. was born in 1934, he attended Morehouse College, but graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, later he rececied a MS, and PhD.

He is the first African American to earn a Ph.D in Nuclear Engineering in the United States.

Sampson was employed as a research chemical engineer at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center in the area of high energy solid propellants and case bonding materials for solid rocket motors.

His patents included a binder system for propellants and explosives and a case bonding system for case composite propellants.  Pretty much this all just means his inventions were related to solid rocket motors.