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Bessie Blount - Physical Therapist

Patented a device that allowed amputees to feed themselves

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Rehabilitation and Recovery Hospital Staff
Seth Joel/ Photographers Choice/ Getty Images
"A black woman can invent something for the benefit of humankind" - Bessie Blount

Bessie Blount, was a physical therapist who worked with soldiers injured in W.W.II. Bessie Blount's war service inspired her to patent a device, in 1951, that allowed amputees to feed themselves.

The electrical device allowed a tube to deliver one mouthful of food at a time to a patient in a wheelchair or in a bed whenever he or she bit down on the tube. She later invented a portable receptacle support that was a simpler and smaller version of the same, designed to be worn around a patient's neck.

Bessie Blount was born in Hickory, Virginia in 1914. She moved from Virginia to New Jersey where she studied to be a physical therapist at the Panzar College of Physical Education and at Union Junior College and then furthered her training as a physical therapist in Chicago.

In 1951, Bessie Blount started teaching Physical Therapy at the Bronx Hospital in New York. She was unable to successfully market her valuable inventions and found no support from United States Veteran's Administration, so she gave the patent rights to the French government in 1952. The French government put the device to good use helping to make life better for many war vets.

Bessie Blount's patent was filed under her married name of Bessie Blount Griffin.

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