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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, who was 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 as an upholsterer; she opened a furniture store. Goode invented a folding cabinet bed which helped people who lived in tight housing to 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, but became restricted in 1885 when New York City passed a law that restricted buildings to be under 80 feet to combat commercial buildings becoming too tall. Tenement buildings usually had a footprint of 25 feet by 100 feet.  In these environments, every square foot was important, 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 folding of the bed for it to be easily lifted up, folding and unfolding 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.   


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