“Telling the Untold” - Martha Jones

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 9:25 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Whether you steam it on the stove or throw it on the grill, if you like corn, it’s possible Black inventor Martha Jones is the one helping it reach your table.

Martha Jones is believed to be the first Black woman to receive a U.S. patent in 1868 for her improvement to the “Corn Husker, Sheller.”

Her invention made it possible to husk, shell, cut and separate corn all in one step.

Jones’ operation allowed for the advancement in automatic agricultural processes farmers use today.

It’s possible that there were other Black female inventors of patents before Jones, who’d filed in the name of someone else since many Black people were placed under economic and educational limits under the U.S. Patent Law during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Jones also faced gender-gap challenges, as it was 47 years before her invention when Thomas Jennings became the first Black man to receive a U.S. patent in 1821.

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