Black history month is always a time to honor the African American community and their various contributions. The automotive industry has several African American inventors who deserve much respect for their ideas and work. Black history month is a special time to honor those who came before us so look through the following automotive inventors that forever changed the roads, driving and cars that we know today.
By 1913, there were more and more drivers on the road. The concept of driving was becoming familiar however, cars were not built the same way that they are today. Cars were not built with any turn signals. The left and right blinkers did not exist until Richard B. Spikes designed this technology. The turn signals are only one of Spikes’ inventions. He also made a special brake system for school buses and the hands-free car wash system. Spikes has many inventions for the automotive industry, but turn signal technology is one his most valuable projects.
Red, yellow and green are the colors that drivers see every single day. These three colors have so much meaning whenever you are behind the wheel. There are laws and regulations that coexist with the traffic light system. The yellow traffic light was invented by a Garett Morgan in 1923. Morgan’s contribution to the automotive world gave order to busy streets and intersections. Since traffic lights originally flashed back and forth between green and red, drivers had no warning when to slow down. Collisions were occurring more often than they do today so Morgan introduced the US to the yellow traffic light. As you can image, the addition of the third light made driving much safer.
Another African American inventor known for many contributions is George Washington Carver. Carver has multiple inventions outside the auto industry, but few people know of his work with bio fuels and Henry T. Ford. His inventions resulted from research and work with plants like the peanut. Bio-fuels or ethanol seemed like a perfect match for Ford’s car business. So, Carver introduced Ford and the rest of the world to the agricultural side of fueling. Carver’s invention led to new options for driving and the automotive industry.
These automotive inventors and many others have put together creations we still use today. African American inventors like Spikes, Morgan and Carver deserve much recognition for their work with cars. Today, drivers can thank these three men for their studies. Driving would be much different without ethanol, traffic lights and turn signals.