In honor of Black History Month, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) encourages the public to nominate an African-American inventor for consideration in our Class of Inductees!
Nominees are evaluated based on the following criteria:
Patent: Nominees must hold a U.S. patent for an invention that has contributed to and advanced society.
Progressive: Their invention should have contributed greatly to progressing their industry and improving it.
Perseverance: The nominee has shown examples of determination, perseverance and has beat the odds.
Passion: Nominees should be considered leaders in their fields who understand the importance of developing and inspiring the next generation of American innovators.
For inspiration, we invite you to learn more about three influential African-American Inductees and how they have helped change the world.
Jim West, 1999 Inductee
Jim West shares a patent with co-Inductee Gerhard Sessler for inventing the electret microphone in 1962 during their time at Bell Laboratories. Because of the device’s high performance and low cost, the technology was widely adopted, and ninety percent of today’s microphones are electret in nature. Additionally, this technology can be found in everyday items such as telephones, sound and music recording equipment, and hearing aids.
Frederick McKinley Jones, 2007 Inductee
Frederick McKinley Jones was awarded many patents during his lifetime and is best known for his contributions to mobile refrigeration. His portable cooling machine invention gave trucks the ability to transport perishable food across long distances and was a drastic improvement over refrigeration methods that used salt and ice. This technology proved especially useful during World War II, preserving blood, food and medicine for U.S. troops.
Victor Lawrence, 2016 Inductee
We have Victor Lawrence to thank for advancing the fields of data encoding and transmission, enabling the development of high-speed internet. His patents relating to signal processing in telecommunications helped to substantially increase the amount of data transferable across signals. Today, he is an advocate for bringing internet access to the world’s poorest countries.
Thank you for joining us in celebrating Black History Month by recognizing the accomplishments of influential African-American inventors who have improved the lives of people everywhere!