Welcome to the Homestead Blog Hop!
Given that it’s Black History Month, I’m sharing a little bit about black folks who have made great contributions to agriculture. This week, I’m highlighting Henry Blair, who is the SECOND black person to hold a patent in the United States of America.
Henry Blair was born in Glen Ross, Maryland, in 1807. Blair was an African-American farmer who patented two devices designed to help boost agricultural productivity. In so doing, he became the second African American to receive a United States patent. Little is known about Blair’s personal life or family background. He died in 1860.
A successful farmer, Blair patented two inventions that helped him to boost his productivity. He received his first patent—for a corn planter—on October 14, 1834. The planter resembled a wheelbarrow, with a compartment to hold the seed and rakes dragging behind to cover them. This device enabled farmers to plant their crops more efficiently and enable a greater total yield. Blair signed the patent with an “X,” indicating that he was illiterate.
Blair obtained his second patent, for a cotton planter, on August 31, 1836. This invention functioned by splitting the ground with two shovel-like blades that were pulled along by a horse or other draft animal. A wheel-driven cylinder behind the blades deposited seed into the freshly plowed ground. The design helped to promote weed control while distributing seeds quickly and evenly.
In claiming credit for his two inventions, Henry Blair became only the second African American to hold a United States patent. While Blair appears to have been a free man, the granting of his patents is not evidence of his legal status. At the time Blair’s patents were granted, United States law allowed patents to be granted to both free and enslaved men. In 1857, a slave owner challenged the courts for the right to claim credit for a slave’s inventions. Since an owner’s slaves were his property, the plaintiff argued, anything in the possession of these slaves was the owner’s property as well.
The following year, patent law changed so as to exclude slaves from patent eligibility. In 1871, after the Civil War, the law was revised to grant all American men, regardless of race, the right to patent their inventions. Women were not included in this intellectual-property protection. Blair followed only Thomas Jennings as an African-American patent holder. Extant records indicate that Jennings received a patent in 1821 for the “dry scouring of clothes.” Though the patent record contains no mention of Jennings’s race, his background has been substantiated through other sources.
Henry Blair – Farmer & 2 Black Recipient of a Patent in the US
Now on to the hop…
Homestead Blog Hop will take place every Wednesday and is for all things homesteading: real food recipes, farm animals, crafts, DIY, how-to’s, gardening, anything from-scratch, natural home/health, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, natural remedies, essential oils, & more! Basically anything related to homesteading.
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from the Last Homestead Blog Hop
Each week we take turns choosing three posts to feature. Each post will be shared on all social media platforms by all of the hosts! Here are the features from Last Week’s Hop:
1. 11 Perennial Greens You Will Love to Grow from Wild Homesteading
2. Easy Vegetable Gardening Ideas for the Busy Homesteader from Stone Family Farmstead
3. Lavender Goat Milk Soap Hearts from Artful Homemaking
Congrats! Feel free to grab the featured on button for your post.
Just right click and ‘save image as…’Guidelines for this Get-Together:
- Click on the “Add your Link” Button below and add a great image of your project or recipe. Make sure you link to the page of your family friendly post – not the main page of your blog.
- Link up to three posts each week.
- Try to visit at least a few other blogs at the party. Be sure to leave a comment to let them know you stopped by.
- Link your post back to the Homestead Blog Hop. If the hop isn’t linked to your post then you cannot be featured. All featured posts will be shared on all hosts’ social media channels.
- Please link up posts that you haven’t linked to the hop before. You are welcome to link old posts from your blog.
- By joining the party, you are giving the hosts permission to use one photo from your post with a link back to your site if it is selected as one of next week’s Features.
- This is a family-friendly link up meant to inspire and motivate the homesteader in all of us.
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