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Lewis Howard Latimer

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Thanks to Lewis Howard Latimer, the Lightbulb is a Shining Symbol of Innovation Today

The son of two escaped slaves from Virginia, Lewis Howard Latimer was raised in Massachusetts. Latimer’s father was found by his owner and tried, though he was eventually allowed to purchase his freedom in Massachusetts. However, the outcome of the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford U.S. Supreme Court case, which held that slaves must be freed from the state in which they were enslaved to be free, caused the elder Latimer to fear for his safety. His father fled to protect his family, and Lewis Latimer and his family split up, with the male children living on a farm and his sisters staying with a family friend. At 16-years-old, Latimer joined the Navy for two years, and after receiving an honorable discharge, he went to work at a patent law firm, eventually becoming a draftsman. In 1873, Latimer married Mary Wilson Lewis; they later had two daughters. A year after his marriage Latimer, co-patented a new toilet system for railroad trains. Two years later, he was hired directly by Alexander...

Feb 12, 2021