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Henry Baker

Henry Baker was an assistant patent examiner at the USPTO

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Henry Blair was identified on his patent as being

Henry Blair was identified on his patent as being "colored"

USPTO
What we know about early African American innovators comes mostly from the work of Henry Baker. He was an assistant patent examiner at the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) who was dedicated to uncovering and publicizing the contributions of Black inventors.

Around 1900, the Patent Office conducted a survey to gather information about Black inventors and their inventions. Letters were sent to patent attorneys, company presidents, newspaper editors, and prominent African-Americans.

Henry Baker recorded the replies and followed-up on leads. Henry Baker’s research also provided the information used to select Black inventions exhibited at the Cotton Centennial in New Orleans, the World’s Fair in Chicago, and the Southern Exposition in Atlanta.

By the time of his death, Henry Baker had compiled four massive volumes.

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