20 Black Inventions Over The Last 100 Years You May Not Know

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Elijah-McCoyElijah McCoy (1844–1929)

What He Invented: A Railroad Lubrication Machine.

Why It’s Important: McCoy, who was from Canada, invented a lubrication device to make railroad operation more efficient. After studying the inefficiencies inherent in the existing system of oiling axles, McCoy invented a lubricating cup that distributed oil evenly over the engine’s moving parts. He obtained a patent for this invention in 1872, which allowed trains to run continuously for long periods of time without pausing for maintenance.

Ludwick-MarishaneLudwick Marishane (1991–)

What He Invented: DryBath

Why It’s Important: At age 21 Ludwick Marishane developed a formula that people use to bathe without water. DryBath is a lotion that cleanses cheaply and easily — especially important for the 2.5 billion people worldwide who lack proper access to water and sanitation.

DryBath has the same effect as an antibacterial cleanser, but it’s odorless and creates a biodegradable film that cleans and moisturizes the skin. Five years later, became available on the market. Marishane has since enrolled at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and was named the Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011.

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