Albert Richardson is the Black man behind the casket-lowering device still used today

Vanessa Calys-Tagoe December 11, 2022
Albert Richardson invented the casket-lowering device. Image via AAREG

Inventions are proof that life would continue to get easier and easier. Throughout history, Black inventors have been kept at the far back of the history rooms. From the invention of light bulbs to the invention of the salad fork, Black people have had their hand in almost every invention and these inventions continue to serve the easy-everyday life of humanity. 

With so many inventions in the world, it is often hard to place a name on an invention let alone a patent. Normally, the ratio is assumed to be one person to one invention. But Albert C. Richardson not only made one invention but four. His inventions are still relevant today and make life easier. One of his inventions is the casket-lowering device.

In 1894, Richardson identified the problem of how bodies were lowered into the ground with ropes and sometimes into just shallow grounds. It took several people to get the casket into the ground with the ropes, but at the end of the day, the possibility of the casket falling off and getting damaged was high. 

Without this invention, getting a casket into the ground would have been difficult. The bereaved would not only be mourning but be thinking about how to get their lost loved ones to their resting place. As underrated as it may sound, Richardson’s invention solved a problem. 

His casket-lowering device was made of pulleys and ropes which ensured that the casket got into the ground without tumbling over. His description of the device from his patent filing reads: My invention relates to improvements in casket-lowering devices; and the object of my invention is the provision of a simple, durable and inexpensive device adapted to be fitted in the trench or ditch which receives the casket to prevent the dirt from falling from the edges of the ditch and which will lower the casket Without danger of the same falling as is frequently the case with the present manner of lowering caskets and which causes such horror to those who respect the dead.

Apart from this, Richardson invented the butter churn. Before 1891, butter was made by hand in a bowl. There was no device to make this process simple. In February 1891, Richardson invented the butter churn that had a wooden cylinder container with a handle that went up and down. The device separated oil from milk cream and butter leaving the watery contents in a different bowl. This invention was a game changer in the food industry and is used to date. According to, Richardson also patented a hame fastener in 1882, an insect destroyer in 1899 and an improvement in the design of the bottle in December 1899.

While many big inventions have been created and continue to serve the good of humanity, these “small” inventions will continue to reign in their legacy. Richardson, like many others before him, left an indelible legacy.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 11, 2022


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