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Black History Month Spotlight: Inventions by Black Americans


As we celebrate Black History Month, we would like to recognize the impact that Black inventors have had on technology, medicine, and everyday life. Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman invites you to learn more about these groundbreaking inventions by Black inventors.

Garrett Morgan: Three-Light Traffic Signal

Garrett Morgan revolutionized road safety in the early 20th century with the invention of the three-light traffic signal.Prior to Morgan’s invention, traffic signals featured two lights, red and green; however, the sudden change from green to red caused confusion and accidents. Morgan recognized the need for a more effective system, and in 1923, he patented a three-light traffic signal that added a yellow warning light to indicate the imminent transition to red. The new three-light traffic signal greatly improved traffic flow and road safety.

Three-Light Traffic Signal Patent Drawing

Leonidas Berry: Eder-Berry Biopsy Gastroscope

Dr. Leonidas Berry made significant contributions to medicine through his research and with the invention of the Eder-Berry biopsy gastroscope in 1955. This innovative device allowed for visual examination of the stomach's interior and the ability to perform targeted biopsies without major, invasive surgery. Dr. Berry's further research identified the link between alcohol overconsumption and liver damage. Berry’s work not only advanced medical technology but also contributed to a better understanding of gastrointestinal health.

 Eder-Berry Biopsy Gastroscope Patent Drawing

Patricia Bath: Laserphaco Probe

In 1986, Dr. Patricia Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, which transformed and modernized the treatment of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. The Laserphaco Probe uses laser technology to remove cataracts, allowing for a less invasive and more effective removal process. Dr. Bath’s invention has an enduring impact on ophthalmic care and the device is still used to this day.

Laserphaco Probe Patent Drawing

As we reflect on the contributions of these remarkable individuals, Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman encourages you to recognize diversity and inclusion every month.

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