Humanities › History & Culture Sarah Goode Sarah Goode: The First African American Woman to Receive a U.S. patent. Share Flipboard Email Print Don Farrall/Getty Images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated January 30, 2019 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.