10 Famous African-American Inventors

6. Benjamin Bradley


Benjamin Bradley was an American inventor and slave from Maryland who born around 1830. Although it was illegal for slaves to learn how to read and write, he was able to learn them anyway. Bradley showed natural talents for making things and he was also good at mathematics. As a teenager, Bradley tried to build a rudimentary, working steam engine from scrap metal, which impressed many people.
The United States Naval Academy hired him as a staff and since he was still a slave, most of Bradley’s wages had to go to his master. After saving enough money, he built and sold the first steam engine, which was powerful enough to run a warship. Bradley gathered enough money to buy his freedom; no picture of him found and no one knows when and where he died.



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