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Jan Matzeliger - Black Inventor | African American Inventors and their Inventions

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Jan Matzeliger – Black Inventor

Jan Matzeliger understood that a great invention is something that can make mandatory tasks easier. Jan Matzeliger is the man who is responsible for making sure ordinary citizens could purchase shoes.

Jan was born in South America and his mother was of African descent and his father was Dutch. Jan showed that he was very talented when it came to repairing complex machinery at an early age. In fact, by the time he was 19 he was already out exploring the world. For two years he worked on an East Indian ship that visited several different countries. One of the places that he liked was the United States and more specifically the state of Pennsylvania. His English was not good but some black residents invited him in who happened to be Christians. Jan was able to survive because he had good hand skills and was a great mechanical person.

During his time here he also learned about making shoes. In fact most of the shoes that people wore came from Massachusetts. However, in Lynn Jan could not find work at first because he knew very little English. However, eventually he was able to work as a show apprentice in one of the shoe factory’s. One of the machines that Jan used was actually what got his chains to churning. He thought about making an machine that would be able to cost the company less money so they could be accessible to even the poor population.

 

 

Jan became determined to learn proper English. He even took night classes after he had been working all day. Not too long after beginning the classes Jan was able to study different physics and mechanical science books to enhance his skills. However, since he did not have a lot of money he was unable to patent all of the inventions that he created. Others were taking credit for his work and all he could do was look at this take place helplessly.

Once Jan figured out how the tops of the shoes were being sewn down he was able to come out with a cheaper alternative that would save the shoe makers money. Many people offered to buy this idea but he turned them all down even though some of the offers were thousands of dollars. By 1883, he had the invention patented. Not to mention the fact that two years later the machine had been modified by Jan and was able to now make 700 shoes per day.

Even though Jan was only able to enjoy the success of his inventions until the age of 37 his memory forever lives on because he invented something that is important right now up until this very day

 
 
 
 

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