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Henry Blair - Black Inventor | African American Inventors and their Inventions

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Henry Blair – Black Inventor

Henry BlairAfrican American inventors have made a myriad of different contributions to the field of agriculture, which is a direct result of the fact that they were forced to work manual labour on farms across the country. A few gifted individuals, with varying levels of education, put enough thought into their situation that they could find ways to make their own lives easier. One such individual is Henry Blair, and inventor who made such a big contribution that he became the second African American to receive a patent on his invention – which is quite a feat given his humble beginnings.

For an inventor of his stature, very little is known about Henry Blair. Records regarding his slave status are unclear – nobody is quite sure whether he was free or not. What is clear is that he was completely illiterate, to the point that he could not even sign his name, and had to use a large X to indicate his agreement or presence. This personal difficulty did not impact his mind, and he soon gained notoriety for his contribution to agriculture.

Blair’s first invention was a seed planter, and it set the benchmark for modern agricultural design. What it basically was was a set of shovels in the front, drawn by horses, which featured a rotating barrel that planted seeds. This was basically a 19th century tractor. But Blair received his patent for a cotton planter, which featured a similar design. The revolutionary aspect was that more work could be done much faster. Instead of slaving spending days digging and filling holes, they could plant entire fields far more quickly.

 

 

It is often the simplest things that have the greatest impact, and with the genius of Blair, it is now possible for farmers to work at a rate that allows supply to meet demand.

 
 
 
 

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