March is the Women’s History Month celebrated globally to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. The month corresponds with the International Women’s Day which is marked globally on March 8.
As part of Face2Face Africa’s commitment to informing and connecting black people around the world, we have resolved to devote each day of the month of March to celebrate black women inventors and to highlight their inventions.
Alice H. Parker, an African-American from Morristown, New Jersey on December 23, 1919, received a patent for her design of a gas heating furnace.
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Her invention has helped provide centralized heating to millions of homes and buildings worldwide. People no longer needed to stock and burn wood in a traditional furnace.
In the early years of the 20th century, natural gas was used for industrial heating applications but no one at the time considered using it as a form of heat for homes and businesses. That is where Parker stepped in. She came up with the idea of using a single source of heat, centrally located, to provide warmth through air pipes to a home.
She got tired of the cold winters in her New Jersey hometown as well as the ineffective use of fireplaces in warming her home, and this prompted her invention which has since revolutionized how people heat their homes.
Her design laid the groundwork for the various forms of central heating in use in homes currently.