Sarah Goode

Sarah Goode: The First African American Woman to Receive a U.S. patent.

US Patents
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Sarah Goode was the first African American woman to receive a U.S. patent. Patent #322,177 was issued on July 14, 1885, for a folding cabinet bed. Goode was the owner of a Chicago furniture store. 

Early Years

Goode was born Sarah Elisabeth Jacobs in 1855 in Toledo, Ohio. She was the second of seven children of Oliver and Harriet Jacobs. Oliver Jacobs, a native of Indiana was a carpenter. Sarah Goode was enslaved from birth and received her freedom at the end of the Civil War. Goode then moved to Chicago and eventually became an entrepreneur. Along with her husband Archibald, a carpenter, she owned a furniture store. The couple had six children, of whom three would live to adulthood. Archibald described himself as a "stair builder" and as an upholsterer.

The Folding Cabinet Bed

Many of Goode's customers, who were mostly working-class, lived in small apartments and didn't have much space for furniture, including beds. So the idea for her invention came out of the necessity of the times. Many of her customers complained of not having enough room to store things much less to add furniture.

Goode invented a folding cabinet bed which helped people who lived in tight housing to utilize their space efficiently. When the bed was folded up, it looked like a desk, with room for storage. At night, the desk would be unfolded to become a bed. It was fully functioning both as a bed and as a desk. The desk had ample space for storage and was fully functioning as any conventional desk would be. This meant that people could be able to have a full-length bed in their houses without necessarily squeezing their home space; at night they would have a comfortable bed to sleep on, while during the day they would fold up that bed and have a fully functioning desk. This meant that they no longer had to squeeze their living environment.

When Goode received a patent for the folding cabinet bed in 1885 she became the first African American woman to ever get a United States Patent. This was not only a great feat for the African Americans as far as innovation and inventively is concerned, but it was a great feat for women in general and more specifically to African American women. Her idea filled a void in the lives of many. It was practical and many people appreciated it. She opened up the door for many African American women to come after her and get a patent for their inventions.

Sarah Goode died in Chicago in 1905 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery.

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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "Sarah Goode." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 27). Sarah Goode. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Sarah Goode." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).