Black History Month: Sarah Goode – The First African-American Woman To Get A U.S. Patent
Born as Sarah Elizabeth Jacobs in the year 1855 in Toledo, Ohio, she forms a very important part in history of African-American women in entrepreneurship and technology inventions. She was the second child of seven children to Mr. and Mrs. Oliver and Harriet Jacobs. His father Mr. Olive was an Indiana native who earned his living through carpentry, their family later relocated to Chicago, Illinois after the end of the American Civil War. It is in Chicago that Ms. Sarah Jacobs met Archibald (“Archie”) Goode and later married him, thus becoming Mrs. Sarah Goode.
Mr. and Mrs. Goode had six children, but unfortunately only three of their children grew to adulthood. Mr. Goode worked as a stair case builder and as an upholsterer, while Mrs. Goode opened up a furniture store. There is an old saying that says; Necessity is the mother of invention. This is perhaps what prompted Mrs. Sarah Goode to invent the folding cabinet bed. During her life in Chicago, most of the people in her neighborhood lived in very small houses or studios. More often than not, the homestead was cramped up since the habitable space within the house was quite small. Most of her customers would not buy a lot of furniture as they could, since they complained that their houses were hardly big enough to accommodate too many furniture. This is what drove Sarah Goode to invent the folding cabinet bed. Hence finding a solution to this problem; there by enabling her neighbor to acquire more furniture while she is able to sell more furniture herself.
The folding cabinet bed that Sarah invented looks like a desk when it was folded up. At night, the desk would be unfolded to become a bed. It was fully functioning both as a bed and as a desk. The desk had ample space for storage and was fully functioning as any conventional desk would be. This meant that people could be able to have a full length bed in their houses without necessarily squeezing their home space; at night they would have a comfortable bed to sleep on, while during the day they would fold up that bed and have a fully functioning desk. This meant that they no longer had to squeeze their living environment.
Mrs. Sarah Goode received a patent for her folding cabinet bed on 14th July 1885, thereby becoming the first African-American woman to ever get a United States Patent. This was not only a great feet for the African Americans as far as innovation and inventively is concerned, but it was a great feet for women in general and more specifically to the African American women. Her idea filled a void in the lives of many, it was practical and many people appreciated it. The invention by Mrs. Sarah Goode was the first US issued patent to an African American woman recorded in history. She opened up the door way for many African American women to come after her and get a patent for their inventions.