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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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5 Inventions You Did Not Know Were Created by Black Inventors

February 24, 2022

As the end of Black History Month quickly approaches, I figured it would be a great opportunity to curate a list of inventions created by black inventors. While the colour of their skin doesn’t necessarily make their inventions any more important than an inventor of a different race, I think it's important that we acknowledge some of the great inventions brought to us by the black community.  As well, I personally find it interesting to know the story behind an inventor’s creation, rather than just their name and what they made. With that being said, here are 5 inventions you did not know were created by black inventors. 

Alexander Miles – Automatic elevator doors

We’re going to start off with an invention that maybe isn’t as flashy as some of the others on the list, but is still very important nonetheless. Alexander Miles was an African American man who first started off as a barber in the 1860’s, working in Wisconsin. In 1886, Miles moved his business and his family to Minnesota, where he found great success as a barber in a 4 story hotel. Throughout his time there, Miles took notice of the potential danger of leaving the hotel’s elevator door open during use could cause. On October 11, 1887, Miles filed a patent for the first automatic elevator door. With his invention, elevator doors could now open and close automatically, ensuring riders remained safe during the short trip. Today, we would never even imagine riding in an elevator without the door being closed. Spamming the close-door button to avoid others entering the same elevator as us, has just become a part of our society. Miles’ quick thinking and concern for the safety of others made this invention possible as early as it was [1].

Garrett Morgan – Three-light traffic light

Fun fact: this invention is actually a modification of the original traffic light installed in England in 1868. However, the fact that this is literally the standard traffic light we use all around the world to this day, shows the value of this invention. At the time, Garrett Morgan was the first black person to own a car in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The inspiration for his invention came after Morgan witnessed a severe car crash at an intersection in his city. At the time, traffic lights had just 2 lights: stop and go. This gave Morgan the 2000 IQ idea of adding an amber light, that would indicate to drivers that they should yield, as the light was about to change. On November 20, 1923, Morgan patented his three-light traffic light and eventually sold the patent to General Electric (GE) for $40,000 (nearly $700,000 in today’s money). His addition to the original traffic light design has gone on to keep drivers safe and save millions of lives. Morgan would go on to create many other notable inventions including the gas mask and own several successful businesses [2].

John Lee Love – Portable hand-crank pencil sharpener

This next invention still continues to help us all pass our classes to this day. John Lee Love patented the portable hand-crank sharpener in November 1897. Prior to his invention, pencil sharpeners were stationary and had a lot of extra moving parts. Love’s invention not only simplified the design but made the sharpener portable and easy to hold in the hand. It also introduced a casing that would hold all the pencil shavings and could be emptied when finished. His design, like many early inventions, has been updated and streamlined throughout the years. However, the mechanics pretty much have remained the exact same. I personally owe at least a thousand writing assignments to Mr. Love and his sharp thinking [3].

Lonnie Johnson - Super Soaker water gun

The nostalgia behind this invention is real! Lonnie Johnson was an African American aerospace engineer for NASA, who blessed our childhoods with the Super Soaker water gun. In the process of working on an eco-friendly heat pump, Johnson accidentally shot a stream of pressurized water across the bathroom. That’s when the idea struck him to create a toy gun that shoots water. And from there it was history! The Super Soaker went on to become the world’s most popular water gun and one of the most influential toys in history. In fact, the Super Soaker name is often used today as the generic name for a water gun. It only makes sense that a man who spent most of his life building spaceships would come up with such a legendry invention [4].

George “Crum” Speck - Potato chips

Hot Take: the potato chip is the greatest food invention ever created! No? Well, someone out there must agree with me. All jokes aside, the origin behind this snack is almost as good as the invention itself. This story takes place in 1853 when George Crum, an African American chef at a resort in New York, had just received an order of French fries back to the kitchen. The man who had ordered them claimed they were not salty enough and were mushy and thick. In an attempt to spite the man, Crum proceeded to cut the rejected fries as thinly as he could. He then refried them until they were borderline burnt and coated them with salt. Crum sent the fries back out to the man waiting to see the look on his face. To Crum’s surprise, however, the man ended up loving them. And just like that, the most famous snack to ever exist on the planet was born! Crum went on to open his own restaurant and served these fried chips as an appetizer to every customer. Unfortunately, Crum did not patent his invention, resulting in large companies like Lays beginning to bag them up, building a potato chip empire. But now, you can credit the original creator of the potato chip the next time you open a bag [5].




[3] 1931/#:~:text=John%20Lee%20Love%20was%20an,the%20early%20life%20of%20Love