Recognizing Sarah Boone
February 21st, 2017 | Caitlin Lombardo, Community Learning Specialist
In observance of Black History Month we’ll be highlighting African American scientists, inventors, mathematicians and engineers.
Unfortunately too little is known about Sarah Boone but what we do know is astounding. She was the first African American woman to receive a patent for an invention. This is amazing in itself but her patent was published in 1892. Not only was Sarah an inventor but a mother of many children and she worked outside the home as a dressmaker. She was a groundbreaker on many fronts- she plowed through racial, gender and political lines.
Her invention is where we have the most information about her. She devised an ironing board that worked for women, the ones doing the ironing and she didn’t wait for a man to invent it. She designed it to be narrow for the sleeves and bodices of women’s clothing. It also folded so it could be stored in a closet out of sight. Hers was not the first patent submitted for an ironing board, but it was the most unique and measurably different from what already existed. She proverbially “took the bull by the horns” and did it herself.
Learn more about Sarah’s patent HERE