BY Mohammed Awal, 8:00am November 17, 2019,

Meet the African Americans whose innovations changed the world

Meet the African Americans whose innovations changed the world

Ellen Eglin 

Ellen Eglin was an African-American inventor who invented clothes wringer for washing machines.

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1849, Eglin, in the 1800s, invented the clothes wringer, a machine with two rollers in a frame that was connected to a crank. 

Clothes would move through the machine in between the two rollers and as the crank was turned, the machine will press out all the water.

The clothes wringer was made from two wooden pins that are on top of each other with a crank attached to allow the pins to roll.

The innovation, according to historical accounts, came when people struggled to wash. Eglin, however, decided to sell her patent to a “white person interested in manufacturing the product” for $18.

“You know I am black and if it was known that a Negro woman patented the invention, white ladies would not buy the wringer. I was afraid to be known because of my color in having it introduced into the market that is the only reason,” Eglin was quoted as saying in the April 1890 issue of Woman Inventor.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: November 17, 2019


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