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Norbert Rillieux | African American Inventors and their Inventions

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Norbert Rillieux

Norbert Rillieux is one of the black inventors who knew that in order for an invention to be successful it must be safe, efficient, and portable. His knowledge of this is what helped his invention become such a success.

Norbert Rillieux was born in New Orleans in 1806. Even though his mother was a slave Norbert was born a free man. This is because he was the son of a very successful white engineer. Norbert had more of an advantage than some of the other children when it came to his education. Thanks to his father’s status he was not only able to go to a Catholic school but when it came to his advance schooling he had the pleasure of being taught in Paris. By the time he was 24 he had experienced and obtained more knowledge than most of the people his age could have ever imagined achieving. However, by 1834 he decided it was time for him to return back home to his father’s plantation.

Also, during the 1930’s Norbert Rillieux had the pleasure of seeing the steam operated single pan vacuum emerge. However, he felt that with a few modifications this great invention could be even successful. When he put on his thinking cap he discovered that a second and third pan would be beneficial to this invention and both of them would be heated by the other. By 1943 he had patented the idea – which was later than he expected due to some family issues getting in the way. Of course it was a success and everyone was very proud of him.

 

 

During the 1950’s New Orleans started to experience “Yellow Fever” and Norbert was disgusted with how bad racism had become and decided he wanted to move back to Paris. Once there he continued to create new inventions and did so until he left the earth on October 8, 1894.

 

 
 
 
 

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