Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Wed, 10.02.1850

Sarah Goode, Inventor born

Sarah Goode

*Sarah Goode in 1850 is celebrated on this date.   She was a Black entrepreneur and inventor. She was born Sarah Elisabeth Jacobs in Toledo, Ohio, the same year as the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted.  She was the second of seven children of Oliver and Harriet Jacobs, both described in public records as Mulattos. Oliver Jacobs, a native of Indiana, was a carpenter.  

She was born into slavery, and when the American Civil War ended, she was granted her freedom. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she met and married Archibald "Archie" Goode, originally from Wise County, Virginia; they would have six children, of whom three would live to adulthood.  He described himself in the records as a "stair builder" and an upholsterer; she opened a furniture store. Goode invented a folding cabinet bed that helped people living in tight housing utilize their space efficiently.

Goode heard of this problem from customers of her furniture store in Chicago and set out to make a solution.  Her patent, 322,177, granted on July 14, 1885, was for a Cabinet-bed, "that class of sectional bedsteads adapted to be folded together when not in use, so as to occupy less space, and made generally to resemble some article of furniture when so folded." At the time of her invention, housing in New York City was expanding upwards. Still, it became restricted in 1885 when New York City passed a law restricting buildings to under 80 feet to combat commercial buildings becoming too tall. Tenement buildings usually had a footprint of 25 feet by 100 feet.  Every square foot was important in these environments, and saving space was necessary.  

Her invention was the precursor to the Murphy bed, which was patented in 1900. Her goal was to balance out the weight of the bed folding for it to be easily lifted, folded, and unfolded and to secure the bed on each side so that when folding the bed, it would stay in its place. She provided supplementary support to the center of the bed when it is unfolded.  Sarah Goode died on April 8, 1905, at the age of 50.   

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

There is a tree, by day, That, at night, Has a shadow, A hand huge and black, With fingers long and black, All through the dark, Against the white man's house, In the little wind, The black... TENEBRIS by Angelina weld Grimke’.
Read More