Tag Archives: African American Inventor

The Father of Black Invention

National Clothesline, a Trade magazine of the clothing industry is reporting that the inventor of Drycleaning was actually an Africa American man, who quite possibly received the first US Patent awarded a black person for the process in 1821. His name was Thomas L. Jennings –

Jolly, a French tailor, has long been credited with an accidental discovery that led to drycleaning as we know it today. After spilling the contents of a paraffin lamp onto a greasy tablecloth, he watched as the stains disappeared. He went on to open the first drycleaning shop and the craft grew from there. So the story goes, with variations, including the date of the discovery, which is reported as 1825 in some sources and as the 1840s in others.
dry clean
But an American received a patent for a drycleaning process well before even the earliest date attributed to Jolly’s discovery. This was brought to light at last month’s International Drycleaners Congress convention by Masashi Shimenoki of the Textile Care Information Service Inc. in Japan.
Speaking during a convention session in Beijing, China, last month Shimenoki reported that Thomas L. Jennings received a patent for his drycleaning process in 1821. According to the U.S. Patent Office, Jenning’s process, which he called “dry scouring,” is likely the first U.S. patent awarded to an African-American. Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by on September 30, 2009 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life


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