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Wed, 09.15.1847

George F. Grant born

George F. Grant

*George Grant was born on this date in 1847, he was a black inventor and dentist the first African American professor at Harvard.

George Franklin Grant was born in Oswego, New York, to Phillis Pitt and Tudor Elanor Grant.  Grant entered the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1868 and graduated in 1870. He then took a position in the department of mechanical dentistry in 1871, making him Harvard University's first African American faculty member.  He was a founding member and later the president of the Harvard Odonatological Society and was a member of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association where he was elected president in 1881.

An avid golfer, Dr. Grant was unhappy with the mess that came with the tee shot. The process of teeing the ball up involved pinching moist sand to fashion a tee. Doing that 18 times a round was enough to annoy Dr. Grant, so he came up with an invention that would forever have an impact. On Dec. 12, 1899, he received U.S. patent No. 638,920, the world's first patent for a golf tee.

But Grant was an inventor not a businessman and he never marketed his golfing innovation. It would be hard to imagine that any piece of sporting equipment has been used more often, but Dr. Grant had them manufactured locally and simply gave them, by the handful, to friends and playing partners.  George Grant died on August 21, 1910, at his vacation home in Chester, New Hampshire, of liver disease.

ToBecome a Dentist

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