THOMAS L. JENNINGS Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Thomas L. Jennings (1791-1856) was a leading abolitionist. He was a free                 
tradesman who operated a dry-cleaning business in New York City, New York.               
When he was loving jw thirty years old, in 1821, he was granted a patent for a           
dry cleaning process called "dry scouring." The first money Jennings earned was         
spent on the legal fees that were necessary to purchase his family out of               
slavery, and to support the abolitionist cause. Although he was the first               
African American to receive a patent, he was not, in fact, the first African             
American whose invention was patented. In 1857, Oscar Stuart,a slave owner,             
patented a "double cotton scraper." He did not, in fact, invent the double               
cotton scraper, but the only name given for the actual inventor was Ned, his             
slave. In his defense, Stuart claimed that "the master is the owner of the               
fruits of the labor of the slave, both manual and intellectual." He was famous           
for his dry- cleaning business. In 1793 and 1836, it was legal for both slaves           
and freedman to receive patents for their inventions. However, it was not in             
1857. In 1858, the United States Patent Office changed the patent law, in Stuart's       
favor. Their reasoning was that slaves were not citizens, and could not be               
granted patents. Yet, in 1870, the patent office passed a law that any black             
person, whether a slave or freedman could have their invention patented. In 1831,       
Jennings became assistant secretary to the first Annual Convention of the People         
of Color in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The important man in history I am               
researching is Thomas Jennings. He was born in 1791. Thomas Jennings was the             
first African-American to receive a patent. Jennings' skills were so accepted           
that people near and far-off came to him to alter or custom-tailor objects of           
clothing for them. He invented a dry cleaning business, and received a patent           
for following through with his idea. The topic is of how he made this task a             
reality and build his family out of slavery. Thomas Jennings had many                   
significant time periods throughout his life. When he became 30, in 1821, he             
granted a patent for dry cleaning, or dry scouring. Another important date in           
his life period was