28 Days of Little Known Facts About (Black) American History | Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner and Mildred Davidson Austin Smith (15)

We are pleased to spotlight Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner and Mildred Davidson Austin Smith in day fifteen of our first annual 28 Days of Little Known Facts About (Black) American History

Mary Kenner and Mildred Smith are two of the most prolific female sibling inventors in American history.

Sisters Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner and Mildred Davidson Austin Smith were both born in the town of Monroe, N.C., not far from Charlotte. Mary was born May 17, 1912, and Mildred was born January 31. 1916. Their father, Sidney Davidson, patented a pants presser in 1914. According to historian and former U.S. Patent Examiner Patricia Sluby, a maternal grandfather of the daughters was a man of German and Irish descent who invented a tricolor train light.

Mary secured five patents between 1956 and 1987 including:

  • An early incarnation of the sanitary napkin .
  • The toilet paper holder
  • The mounted back scrubber and washer for showers.

Mildred, who was struck with multiple sclerosis at a young age, invented a children’s board game that explored family ties. In 1980, she trademarked the game’s name, “Family Treedition,” in order to secure her legacy.

While neither sister aimed to get rich with their inventions, they produced their creations with an intention of improving the quality of life. In recent times, history has begun to recognize their talents and contributions as Black inventors.

In 1993, Mildred died, but not before seeing her game manufactured in several fashions, including in the Braille language.

About The 28 Day Campaign

This informational campaign: 28 Days of Little Known Facts About Black American History will see 540Blog share little known facts about Black Americans throughout history every day throughout the month of February. Those that were groundbreaking and history making but do not necessarily get the media attention and coverage.

Source(s): Black America Web 

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