Great Female Inventors

Eliza Lucas Pinckney

Miriam E. Benjamin is noteworthy for serving as a teacher in Washington, D.C. as a teacher in 1888, but her name is famous in history for being the second Black woman in history to receive a patent.

Miriam noticed that many hotels and restaurants seemed overstaffed for the number of customers needing service at any moment. She demised a system where the customers could quiet alerted the staff when in need of service. She invented a device which she called a "Gong and Signal Chair." In her patent application she stated that the chair would "reduce the expenses of hotels by decreasing the number of waiters and attendants, to add to the convenience and comfort of guests and to obviate the necessity of hand clapping or calling aloud to obtain the services of pages.".

The system worked by the customer pressing a small button on the back of the chair, relaying a signal to one of the attendants., while also illuminating a light on the chair showing the attendant which guest needed service. The Gong and Signal chair became so popular that a number of the were installed within the House of Representatives.



Female Inventors


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