• +213 810 3400
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"If you dare to struggle,
you dare to win."

- Fred Hampton

Our Vote is An Exchange

Gone are the Days of Unfulfilled Political Promises, Empty Gestures and Worthless Symbolism. We're Demanding a Specific Black Agenda to Address Specific Harms and Specific Damages, Suffered by the Black American Descendants of Chattel Slavery.

HISTORY NUGGETS POLITICS VIDEO CLIPS

Join the conversation.

Holding politicians and celebrity gatekeepers accountable for the information they put out online.

Twitter

Welcome
to
The AfroPlex

Lewis Howard Latimer

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active
 

 Lewis Howard Latimer Engineer, Inventor (c. 1848–c. 1928)

Lewis Howard Latimer was an inventor and draftsman best known for his contributions to the patenting of the light bulb and the telephone.

Synopsis

Lewis Howard Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on September 4, 1848, to parents who had fled slavery. Latimer learned the art of mechanical drawing while working at a patent firm. Over the course of his career as a draftsman, Latimer worked closely with Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, in addition to designing his own inventions. He died in Flushing, Queens, New York, on December 11, 1928.

Early Life and Family

preview

Inventor and engineer Lewis Howard Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on September 4, 1848. Latimer was the youngest of four children born to George and Rebecca Latimer, who had escaped from slavery in Virginia six years before his birth. Captured in Boston and brought to trial as a fugitive, George Latimer was defended by abolitionists Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. He was eventually able to purchase his freedom, with the help of a local minister, and began raising a family with Rebecca in nearby Chelsea. George disappeared shortly after the Dred Scott decision in 1857, possibly fearing a return to slavery and the South.

Helping to Patent the Telephone & Light Bulb

After his father's departure, Lewis Latimer worked to help support his mother and family. In 1864, at the age of 16, Latimer lied about his age in order to enlist in the United States Navy during the Civil War. Returning to Boston after an honorable discharge, he accepted a menial position at the Crosby and Gould patent law office. He taught himself mechanical drawing and drafting by observing the work of draftsmen at the firm. Recognizing Latimer's talent and promise, the firm partners promoted him from office boy to draftsman.

In addition to assisting others, Latimer designed a number of his own inventions, including an improved railroad car bathroom and an early air conditioning unit. Latimer's talents were well-matched to the post-Civil War period, which saw a large number of scientific and engineering breakthroughs.

preview

Latimer was directly involved with one of these inventions: the telephone. Working with Alexander Graham Bell, Latimer helped draft the patent for Bell's design of the telephone. He was also involved in the field of incandescent lighting, a particularly competitive field, working for Hiram Maxim and Thomas Edison. Latimer's deep knowledge of both patents and electrical engineering made Latimer an indispensably partner to Edison as he promoted and defended his light bulb design.

In 1890, Latimer published a book entitled Incandescent Electric Lighting: A Practical Description of the Edison System. He continued to work as a patent consultant until 1922.

Personal Life and Death

Latimer married Mary Wilson in 1873, and they had two daughters together. The Latimer's were active members of the Unitarian Church and Lewis Latimer was consistently involved in Civil War veterans groups, including the Grand Army of the Republic. In addition to his drafting skills, Latimer enjoyed other creative pastimes, including playing the flute and writing poetry and plays.

In his spare time, he taught mechanical drawing and English to recent immigrants at the Henry Street Settlement in New York. Lewis Howard Latimer died on December 11, 1928, in Flushing, Queens, New York. His wife, Mary, predeceased him by four years.


© 2020 AfroPlex Media . All Rights Reserved.