Black History / Culture

Female inventors: Sarah E. Goode

Sarah Jacob was born into slavery in about 1850; she gained her freedom at the end of the Civil War and moved to Chicago shortly after.  In Chicago she met and married Archibald Goode, a carpenter.

The idea for her invention came out of necessity of the times. Most people she knew lived in small homes or studios and these residents had a minimum amount of habitable space. Many of her customers complained of not having enough room to store things much less to add furniture.



Goode invented a folding cabinet bed which helped people who lived in tight housing to utilize their space efficiently. When the bed was folded up, it looked like a desk, with room for storage. She received a patent for it on July 14, 1885.

At the core of this history, African-American women in general were inventing their own ideas before Sarah Goode, but the legal proof for people who created an invention were assigned to slave holders. Before the agreement of the Fourteenth Amendment, which allowed citizenship to African Americans, they were viewed as property than anything else. Due to that reason, their inventions were a property of the slave holders. Very little is known of Sarah E. Goode; it is unknown where and when she died, but her life is important in history because it opened a pathway for other African Americans to make their own inventions and be able to get patents for them.

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