It’s Ada Lovelace Day again: time to celebrate women in science and technology. Perhaps influenced by all the historical research going on around me, I wanted to find a woman at least as far back as the 19th century, so I decided to focus on Sarah E. Goode, who was not only an early inventor but one of the first African-American women to secure a patent. Although born a slave in 1850, after the war she went north and became an entrepreneur. While living in Chicago and running her own furniture store, she came up with an idea for the Cabinet Bed, a folding bed that doubled as a writing desk when not in use. Ingenious!
Goode submitted her idea and was granted a patent on July 14, 1885 (Patent #322,177, for a cabinet bed). There are some discrepancies in the records of the times — was there more than one Sarah Goode? Did the details get mixed up between two different ones? It’s difficult to be sure: but one of those Sarahs was the inventor of this inspiring mechanical piece that doubtless sold well in her store to all those city dwellers pressed for space.
Have you got a story about a woman in science and technology to share?