Sarah Boone (1832-1904) was one of the first African American women patent holders and is recognized for the improvements she made to the ironing board in 1892. Boone is one of many Black inventors who encountered an inconvenience in their day to day lives and created a solution that in turn improved the quality of life and work for us today.
In order to achieve such an accomplishment Sarah Boone had to overcome one important obstacle — learning to read. Sarah Boone was born and raised in North Carolina, during a time when it was still illegal for Black people to learn how to read. According to New Haven Independent, Boone was illiterate most of her adult life until she took lessons that enabled her to engineer and document information that led to her patent.
Sarah Boone (1832–1904) was an American inventor who on April 26, 1892, obtained United States patent number 473,563 for her improvements to the ironing board. Boone’s ironing board was designed to improve the quality of ironing sleeves and the bodies of women’s garments.The ironing board is a product that’s used possibly just as much as it’s overlooked. In the late 19th century, it was improved upon by Sarah Boone, an African-American woman who was born a slave. One of the first black women in U.S. history to receive a patent, she expanded upon the original ironing board, which was essentially a horizontal wooden block originally patented in 1858. With Boone’s 1892 additions, the board featured a narrower and curved design, making it easier to iron garments, particularly women’s clothing. Boone’s design would morph into the modern ironing board that we use today.
Sarah Boone Biography (1832–1904)
Sarah Boone (1832–1904) was an African American inventor. On April 26, 1892, she obtained United States patent number 473,563 for her improvements to the ironing board. Boone’s ironing board was designed to improve the quality of ironing the sleeves and bodies of women’s garments. The ironing board was very narrow, curved, and made of wood. The shape and structure allowed it to fit a sleeve and it was reversible, so one could iron both sides of the sleeve. Judy Reed received a patent just eight years prior, and is regarded as the first African American woman to attain one. Along with Miriam Benjamin, Ellen Eglin, and Sarah Goode, Boone was a pioneering African American women inventor who developed new technology for the home.
Sarah Marshall was born in Craven County, North Carolina, near the town of New Bern, in 1832. Along with her three siblings, she was born into slavery and prevented from formal education. Sarah was educated by her grandfather at home. On November 25, 1847, she married James Boone (or Boon) in New Bern; they had eight children. She was freed from involuntary servitude after marrying James Boone; the circumstances of this are unknown. The Boone family left North Carolina for New Haven, Connecticut, before the outbreak of the American Civil War. They settled into a house at 30 Winter Street. Sarah Boone worked as a dressmaker and belonged to the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church. Sarah Marshall Boone died in 1904 and is buried in a family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven
Boone was born Sarah Marshall near the town of New Bern in Craven County, North Carolina, in 1832. The daughter of enslaved parents, she earned her freedom at one point; some sources say it came with her 1847 marriage to James Boone, a free African American. The couple went on to have eight children.
1832 Craven County, North Carolina, US
The family settled into an African American neighborhood near Dixwell Avenue, where Boone worked as a dressmaker and her husband as a bricklayer, until his death in the mid-1870s. According to records, Boone was successful enough to own her own house.
Sarah Boone’s version of the ironing board was also padded and collapsible. According to Face2Face Africa, prior to her invention, people used an iron heated over the stove and a table or board balanced on two chairs. Models of her invention could also be made so that the board was not curved, making it more reminiscent of the ironing boards we use today.
Face2Face Africa also reports that in Sarah Boone’s patent application she described that she wanted “to produce a cheap, simple, convenient and highly effective device, particularly adapted to be used in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies’ garments.”
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