Matthew Cherry- Black Inventor
The inventor Matthew Cherry is another figure from American history whom we owe our extreme gratitude, but about whom almost nothing is known. He lived in the 1800’s, and clearly had a passion for transportation and efficient use of energy, because he was awarded two patents in the industry, one for his velocipede, and the other for an improved design of the car fender. It has been thought that he may have been working on a prototype for an automobile, although due to the lack of historical evidence, it is difficult to make such an assumption.
The first of Cherry’s patents came for his velocipede, which was a forerunner for the bicycle. It consisted of seats and wheels, normally two, around which a large cage or frame was positioned. The name can be loosely etymologically traced as referring to “fast feet”, and the concept was that the person stationed inside the frame could walk or run inside the frame, building momentum and resting in between. The best way to understand the idea is to think of the cars that the Flintstones used. The design was immediately recognized for its potential, and as mentioned above, was awarded a patent in 1888.
Cherry’s other patent was awarded for a design of a fender that he drew up. It was more aerodynamic, and it was unanimously agreed that this was an improvement on similar concepts. In fact, the design has endured, and not all that much has changed since Cherry’s original design became popular.
It is always tragic when the records kept do not reflect the full lives of such people, but the work of unsung heroes like Matthew Cherry lives around us on a daily basis. Once again, this visionary, although long gone, is someone who has irreversibly influenced all of our lives.