Tag Archives: 28 Days

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 here..lol

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.


Day 20 Dr. Caldwell McCoy, Jr – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Dr. Caldwell McCoy, Jr

Dr. Caldwell McCoy, Jr was born June 27, 1933 in Hartford, Connecticut.  He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, MS in Mathematics, and Doctor of Science degrees in Telecommunications.

Dr. Caldwell served in the USAF from 1956 to 1959, as a Combat Flyer with the Stetegic Air Command.  Dr. Caldwell’s employment  with the Naval Research Laboratory involved research on state-of-the-art computer equipment for underwater signaling and detection.  Dr. Caldwell was awarded the Thomas Edison Fellowship in 1968 from his work developing long-range anti-submarine system at the Naval research laboratory.

Later during the 1970’s Dr. Caldwell directed the United State’s largest computer network devoted to a single problem, to analyze the prospect of achieving usable energy from magnetic energy.

In 1983 Dr. McCoy became the Director of Information Systems Program at NASA.  Dr. McCoy was responsible for administering a program with funding in the millions of dollars, involving over 275 government and contractor employees.

Dr. Caldwell established The Caldwell McCoy Jr. Foundation which helps prepare and increase the number of students entering career paths in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics.

Day 19 Frederick M. Jones – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Frederick M. Jones

Frederick M. Jones was born on May 17, 1892 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He learned electronic devices largely thought self-taught methods and work experiences.  So education was not his first direction, be he was still able to be granted over 40 patents in the field of refrigeration.

In 1935 he invented the first automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks.  This was well received and became adapted to a veriety of other common carries, including ships, and railway cars.

While I’m not sure about this story I wanted to share the significance with you.  It seems Jones inspiration for the refrigeration unit came from a conversation with a truck driver who had lost a shipment of chickens because the trip took too long and the truck’s storage compartment overheated. (This could be fake, so I wouldn’t put too much on the fact that it was chickens **side eye**)

Because of his invention the capability to ship fresh produce across the United States during summer or winter changed the American consumer’s eating habits.  Its seems that now foods that would go back could be kept safe.

Thanks Mr. Jones for your innovation, and understanding that learning on the job really does help you in the long run.