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Black Inventors of Air and Water Filtration: Black History Month 2023

By February 16, 2023No Comments

black inventors

The filtration industry wouldn’t be where it is today without the contribution of groundbreaking black inventors. This month, we’d like to highlight some of them and honor those who helped make it possible for us to filter, purify, and protect.

Let’s look at two trailblazers who innovated in two areas of filtration that we at specialize in – air and water filtration.

Alice Parker, Black Inventor

Black Inventors in Air Filtration – Alice Parker

Alice Parker may not be a household name, but without her, your home would be much colder. Born in 1895 in Morristown, NJ, Parker came up during the post-Civil War era. She went to Howard University, a prestigious school known for its cultivation of black men’s and women’s educational excellence, where she graduated in 1910.

After graduation, she became a cook and married a butler. Central heating and gas had yet to be invented, and Parker wasn’t satisfied with just using the fireplace to keep her family warm during cold New Jersey nights. She took matters into her own hands and invented the first gas furnace fueled by natural gas.

The invention was also the first to use individually controlled air ducts to ventilate heat evenly throughout the home. Its uniqueness came from its ability to control heating in different parts of a building.

No invention, especially an early one, is without fault, and Alice’s had some. The design presented health risks, mostly because it made the surrounding objects in the home more flammable. Despite this, her inventions paved the way for women inventors of the future as well as cementing her as an innovator in air filtration.

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Lonnie Johnson, Black Inventor

Black Inventors in Water Filtration – Lonnie G. Johnson

You may not be familiar with Lonnie’s name, but we’re sure both you and your children are familiar with his most famous invention – the SuperSoaker! Although it’s Lonnie’s most well-known invention, it’s not where his story began.

Lonnie was born in Mobile, Alabama, and from the start, his parents instilled in him the benefits of curiosity. His father taught him the basic rules of electricity while he was still a child. His thirst for knowledge was so great that he once tore up his sister’s baby doll to see how its eyes closed. This and other instances of his love for “tinkering” earned him the nickname “the Professor” from his friends.

Lonnie would grow up and excel in his field, from being the only black student in a science fair and presenting a robot he created, to working for NASA and developing the nuclear power source for Galileo’s mission to Jupiter.

It was during a session working on an environmentally friendly heat pump for the US Air Force that magic happened. For his heat pump experiments, Lonnie created some nozzles and was testing them in his bathroom. He connected one to the faucet, and a spurt of water shot into the bathtub, sparking an idea. He pieced together a soda bottle, PVC pipe, nylon tubing, and some O-rings, and voila – the SuperSoaker was born!

The invention was a milestone. One that provided many families with many happy memories, and etched Lonnie’s name in the history books as a great inventor and a pioneer in water filtration.

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A Continuous Celebration

Although we set aside this month to recognize black inventors, black excellence in the filtration industry is felt all year. Alice’s heat pump provided the blueprint for modern HVAC systems, allowing us to be comfortably warm in the winter. Lonnie’s SuperSoaker has given so many children and their parents cheerful moments to remember forever.

If you’d like to discover more amazing black inventors, please check out the blog below.

More Black Inventors Who Changed The Filtration Industry

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The post Black Inventors of Air and Water Filtration: Black History Month 2023 appeared first on The Filtered Files – Filters Fast – Your #1 Resource for Air and Water Filtration Related Information. is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on  
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