Lewis Howard Latimer

Birth & death date: Sept 4, 1848 Dec 11, 1928


African American

Family Information:

George and Rebecca are his parents. They were both runaway slaves. When they were caught, George was placed in jail. Lewis had 3 brothers and 1 sister. His family was extremely poor. Because George was in jail, Rebecca struggled to make money to provide for her kids. He is from Chelsea,Massachusetts.


Lewis Latimer attended grammar school however he never attended high school or college.


In 1968, the Lewis H. Latimer Public School in Brooklyn was named for him.


Lewis Latimer became an enngineer at the Edison Electric Company. He was the only African American member of "Edison's Pioneers".

Latimer went on to patent a process for efficiently manufacturing the carbon filament (1882), and developed the now familiar threaded socket (though his was wooden) for his improved bulb. Moreover, Latimer wrote the first book on electric lighting, Incandescent Electric Lighting (1890), and supervised the installation of public electric lights throughout New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London.

Latimer's other patented inventions include such diverse items as the first water closet (i.e., toilet) for railroad cars (1874) and a forerunner of the air conditioner (1886). Although today's light bulbs use filaments of tungsten, which lasts even longer than carbon, Latimer will always be remembered for making possible the widespread use of electric light, in public and at home.


"Like the light of the sun, it beautifies all things on which it shines, and is no less welcome in the palace than in the humbles homes."


Works Cited

"Inventor of the Week: Archive." MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013. <http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/latimer.html>.

"Lewis Howard Latimer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Howard_Latimer>.

"Lewis Latimer." Energy Education is Fun. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2013. <c03.apogee.net/contentplayer/?coursetype=kids&utilityid=mp&id=16192>.

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