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Miriam Benjamin - Black Women Inventors

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Home » Miriam Benjamin – Black Women Inventor

Miriam Benjamin – Black Women Inventor

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of flying owes Miriam Benjamin their gratitude. We all enjoy the feeling of being waited on by flight attendants, and signaling them as we see fit for refreshment and the like. This simple idea saves a lot of noise and frustrate – how else would you get what you needed if you could not signal that you needed something? Clapping, shouting, whistling and screaming would make flying an absolute nightmare, and if you get up and track down a flight attendant you are likely to be arrested for safety violations. Thankfully that is not a problem anymore, because of the amazing vision of Miriam Benjamin.

Benjamin was a school teacher in the late 1800’, and it is highly likely that her profession gave her the idea to patent her “Gong and Signal Chair” in 1888. Classrooms full of wailing children are as annoying as it is impractical, and it has been suggested that this scenario forced Benjamin into thinking up her famous invention. Thus she came up with the idea of a chair that featured a button design that, when pressed, would strike a gong and start up a light. This way, you could tell people you needed some kind of assistance, all in complete silence. Although she claimed that this was an invention that was for the hospitality industry, but it is most likely the result of a frustrated and intelligent teacher.

Sometimes it is the simplest inventions that go the furthest, and this is such a case. Without the foresight of individuals like Miriam Benjamin all those years ago, it is unlikely that we would be as advanced a species as we are today. So next time you crave peanuts on an overnight flight and you ring that bell, thank this wonderful woman for making your life this convenient.

 

 

 
 
 
 

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