The ingenuity of African American inventors Lewis Latimer and Philip Downing allowed consumers to see the light, literally. These pioneers were instrumental in bringing the age of electricity safely into consumers’ homes.
Lewis Howard Latimer received a patent in January 1881 for an improved process for creating a carbon filament for light bulbs. His filament was more durable and longer lasting than earlier filaments, such as Thomas Edison’s original paper filament. His innovation provided incandescent light bulbs that were affordable to more consumers and safer than gas lamps, which were generally used at the time.
Latimer also helped draft the necessary drawings required for Alexander Graham Bell to receive a patent for his version of the telephone, co-patented an improved toilet system for railroad cars and was a patent consultant to various law firms. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.
Philip Downing designed an electrical switch that allowed railroad workers to turn the power supply on or off for railroad trains as needed. He received a patent for it in 1890. Electrical switches, like the ones used to turn lights on and off in most homes, are based on his design. He also designed the first street letter box that protected mail from being stolen, the prototype for the mailboxes used by the postal service today.
In the years since Latimer’s and Downing’s innovations, the safety of electrical products has improved vastly. For more than 40 years, CPSC staff have been working hard to continue to reduce the risk of harm from electrical products and to give you the information you need to use them safely.
And we make it easy to report safety problems online, without looking for a mailbox.
At CPSC, we help make everyday products safer for you.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/electrical-innovations-light-up-homes/
Did you know that asking for the “real McCoy” started with a product invented by an African American?
Mechanical engineer Elijah McCoy received a patent for an automatic steam engine lubricating device in 1872. The device made it possible for train engines to be lubricated while they ran, saving the railroad time and money. When railroad engineers wanted to make sure they received lubricators designed by him and not inferior imitations, they asked for the “real McCoy” system.
Before he died in 1929, McCoy held patents for 56 other inventions, including patents for a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001.
Just like nearly two and a half centuries ago, U.S. consumers want to be assured the products they use are what they expect. Safety is one of those expectations. Due to the work of CPSC and other federal agencies, consumers can rest assured that many products found in homes today are safer to use than ever before.
At CPSC, we help make everyday products safer for you.
Check the products in your home at www.SaferProducts.gov; follow recalls at www.cpsc.gov/recalls, on Twitter @USCPSC or by signing up to receive recall emails; and learn more information in our Safety Education Centers.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/gimme-the-real-mccoy/
On Wednesday, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum addressed attendees of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Hear for yourself what she had to say about the agency’s priorities and commitment to consumers by watching the speech.
“When you look at the revitalization that has gone on at the CPSC, state regulators, and advocacy groups, 2010 is shaping up, in my opinion, to be the Year of the Consumer,” Tenenbaum said in her keynote speech.
Tenenbaum also spoke frankly to manufacturers, telling them to work quickly on new crib standards or the agency will act and telling them to take responsibility for defective products.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/02/2010-the-year-of-the-consumer/
CPSC and its counterpart safety agency in China, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ), wrapped up the 3rd biennial Consumer Product Safety Summit today in Beijing. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum lead the U.S. delegation, which included the agency’s top technical experts and members of CPSC’s Compliance division. 20 U.S. stakeholders participated with the U.S. delegation.
The four-day summit was a platform for CPSC and AQSIQ to make very clear that times have changed. CPSC and AQSIQ put Chinese suppliers and U.S. importers on notice that it is a mistake to depend on good intentions and a few final inspections to ensure compliance with safety requirements.CPSC and AQSIQ will push companies to build safety into the product at every stage of the production and the distribution chain,” said Tenenbaum. “Suppliers and importers need to understand that this is now our expectation.”
Tenenbaum said CPSC will hold importers of products into the United States accountable if their products are hazardous or if they violate U.S. product safety requirements. AQSIQ will hold Chinese suppliers responsible for implementing best practices and building U.S. safety standards into their products before they reach U.S. ports.
“Our goal at CPSC is to protect families in and around their homes by ensuring the safety of the products they buy. That’s what this Summit has been about – protecting families,” said Tenenbaum.” The best way to protect families is to build safety standards into products during design and manufacturing.”
The next U.S. China Consumer Product Safety Summit will take place in the U.S. in 2011.
This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2009/10/day-4-u-s-china-consumer-product-safety-summit/