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Marjorie Joyner - Black Inventor | African American Inventors and their Inventions

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Marjorie Joyner – Black Inventor

The human race has been obsessed with beauty since the dawn of civilization. Every ethnic group has its own challenges when it comes to beauty, be it excessive sebaceous production, skin that is prone to sun damage, or dry skin. African American people have a number of unique problems, but one of the biggest problems is the coarseness of African American hair. For women in particular this is a problem as the hair becomes incredibly difficult to style. As we all know there are a number of solutions available that allow African American women to get the look that they want, but this was not always the case. In fact, before the late 1920’s, it was almost possible for African American to straighten their hair. That is, until the genius invention by Marjorie Joyner.

Like so many African American inventors, Joyner came from a slave background. In fact, she was the granddaughter of a slave owner, but this did not mean that she got preferential treatment. Her only chance to succeed was to further her education, and she grabbed this with both hands. She became the first African American woman to graduate from the A.B Molar School of Cosmetology. From there she developed her relationship with CJ Walker, a prominent beauty entrepreneur. Between the two of them they developed a massive cosmetic empire, but this is not what Joyner is famous for.

Joyner’s major contribution to the world of beauty was the permanent wave hair straightening system. Strangely enough she got the idea from the traditional pin system that is used to distribute heat evenly when cooking a roast. She applied this idea to heat and thus straighten hair, and patented a stool with a heat system that was placed around the head. The best way to understand the design is by thinking of later perm machines, for which this was a template.

 

 

There is some debate about whether or not Joyner was really the first woman to receive a patent, but regardless of whether or not this is the case, the fact remains that she changed peoples’ lives, and deserves great respect for what she achieved.

 
 
 
 

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