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A Patent for Sarah E. Goode: A Space Saving Folding Bed That Transforms into a Desk


Written By: Christine Dantz

January 2016

Patent for Sarah E. Goode

Born into Slavery in 1850, Sarah E. Goode understood the cramped quarters many Americans living in poverty feel today. The average slave quarters in 1850 measured 20-by-20 feet and that 400-square feet was home to a minimum of four to six slaves. Most likely this is one of the reasons that Goode, whose father was a carpenter, set out to provide quality furniture for families with limited space.

Her invention, a folding bed that transforms into a roll-top desk with compartments for writing supplies was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 14, 1885, making her the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. Patent.

 

Sarah E. Goode was the first African-American woman to be granted a patent from the U.S. Patent Office, for her invention of a folding cabinet bed in 1885. She was a true inventor and entrepreneur.

 

average slave quarters in 1850

 

The average slave quarters in 1850 measured 20-by-20 feet and that 400-square feet was home to a minimum of four to six slaves.

 

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Goode's fold-up bed

Goode's fold-up bed is similar to today's fold-down beds, also known as the Murphy Bed. American inventor William Lawrence Murphy wasn't as lucky, his patent was removed by the U.S. Patent Office in 1989, falling victim to the world of generic words. Despite the loss, Murphy's bed was the ultimate space saving bed, and it's still being used today.

 

If you never heard of the Murphy Bed, it's a bed that rolls up into a wall closet to provide larger living quarters. Murphy didn't secure his patent until 1910, ten years after Goode's death.

 

 

Goode's fold-up bed

As ingenious as Goode's invention was, it appears that IKEA hasn't gotten wind of this space saver just yet. But as the population grows throughout the world, it's not a far-fetched idea that an invention from 1885 could become widely popular in the 21st century. The only changes might be a charging port for smartphones, tablets, and laptops!

Example of the Goode bed left.

 

Sarah Goode the first Black woman to be granted a patent

References:

Folding Beds-Sarah E. Goode. (n.d.). Retrieved from The National Archives Catalog

Klein, J. S. (1989, August 17). Trademark Defense Comes Off the Wall. Retrieved from Los Angeles Times

United States Patent Office. William Lawrence Murphy, of Dochester, Massachusetts. (1910, May 10). Retrieved from United States Patent and Trademark Office

Yakubik, J.-K., & Mendez, R. (n.d.). Beyond the Great Hous: Daily Life in the Quarters. Retrieved from Louisiana Culture Recreation and Tourism

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Other Articles of Interest:

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U.S. Fires Back: Hits China with High Tariffs for Dumping Steel Products in U.S.

Boeing and DARPA to Develop Advanced "Bubble Shield" to Save Lives in Battle

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