- uploaded: Feb 3, 2011
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Perhaps you've heard the claims: Were it not for the genius and energy of black inventors, we might find ourselves in a world without traffic lights,Pyramids,alphabet,civilization, blood banks,light bulb,filaments, HELICOPTER and a vast number of other things we now take for granted but could hardly imagine life without,such as DOOR KNOB,so we ignorant whites would stay outside in cold for all of eternity. While black geniuses manage to shut doors on straw huts securely using door knob.
Such beliefs usually originate in books or articles about black history. Since many of the authors have little interest in the history of technology outside of advertising black contributions to it, their stories tend to be fraught with misunderstandings, wishful thinking, or fanciful embellishments with no historical basis. The lack of historical perspective leads to extravagant overestimation of originality and importance: sometimes a slightly modified version of a pre-existing piece of technology is mistaken for the first invention of its type; sometimes a patent or innovation with little or no lasting value is portrayed as a major advance, even if there's no real evidence it was ever used.
Unfortunately, some of the errors and exaggerations have acquired an illusion of credibility by repetition in mainstream outlets, especially during Black History Month (see examples for the traffic light and ironing board). When myths go unchallenged for too long, they begin to eclipse the truth. Thus I decided to put some records straight.
Peanut butter was invented and reinvented many times during history. Peanuts were known as early as 950 B.C. and originated in South America. The ancient Incas used peanuts and were known to have made it into a paste-like substance. As a crop peanuts emigrated from South America to Africa by early explorers and then traveled by trade into Spain who then traded the product to the American colonies. The first commercial peanut crop was grown in Virginia in the early to mid 1840's and in North Carolina beginning around 1818.
According to the Corn Products Company, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis patented a peanut butter-making machine in 1903 and some unknown doctor invented peanut butter in 1890.
During the mid 1500's, Italian inventor Leonardo Da Vinci made drawings of an ornithopter flying machine that some experts say inspired the modern day helicopter. In 1784, French inventor, Launoy and Bienvenue created a toy with a rotary-wing that could lift and fly and proved the principle of helicopter flight.
Origins of the Name
In 1863, the French writer Ponton D'Amecourt was the first person to coin the term "helicopter" from the two words "helico" for spiral and "pter" for wings.
Igor Sikorsky is considered to be the "father" of helicopters not because he invented the first. He is called that because he invented the first successful helicopter.