5 Inventions By Enslaved Black Men Blocked By U.S. Patent Office

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Henry Boyd

Henry Boyd, who was born into enslavement in Kentucky, was an inventor, carpenter, and a master mechanic. He invented the corded bed with the wooden rail screwed into both the headboard and the footboard. According to findagrave.com, Boyd was unable to patent his invention but eventually earned enough money to buy freedom for himself and his brother and sister in 1826.

Undeterred by the laws barring him from obtaining a patent, and now a freedman, Boyd started H. Boyd Company in 1836, selling his invention the Boyd Bedstead. He made sure to stamp his name on every finished product to assure buyers it was his work.

The Notable Kentucky African American Database records that in 1843 Boyd was among the most successful furniture makers in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his company was based.

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