Now that we’ve all slept off our sugar high from the boxes of chocolates and delicious Galentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day deserts, time to get back to celebrating Black History Month. What better way to celebrate this month than to continue to admire the long list of Black inventors whom history has overlooked?
One of the most important benefits of the internet – aside from the interconnectivity of social media and the ability to post photos of our pets or favorite meals of course – is the free access to information! Previously knowledge and power were reserved for the select few members of society that 1) were male, and/or 2) could afford it, however this exclusivity is no longer the case. The internet allows for people like myself to connect with people like Oprah, or the editors of biography.com to learn more about a wide range of topics, including the focus of today’s blog post: Mr. Frederick McKinley Jones.
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, refrigeration is a big part of your energy bill, and part of the energy discussion at large (check them out here to see what I mean: https://suntexllc.com/2729-2/, https://suntexllc.com/setting-the-stage-energy-consumption-in-the-home/). This technology and the many conveniences it affords us today in our daily lives would not be possible however without the work of Frederick McKinley Jones.
Frederick McKinley Jones, the inventor of Refrigeration equipment
While everyone we’ve discussed this month has an impressive and impactful resume, Frederick McKinley Jones might just be one of the most important inventors of all time. Reason being that refrigeration isn’t only used to preserve your left-over lasagna from the night before, but also helps us to preserve and ship medicine and blood for transfusions (among other things), which has furthered science and saved lives all over the world for decades.
Take a look at the following link from Oprah Winfrey’s article, “14 Black Inventors That Changed American Life” to gain a little more insight into his life, and his contributions to your own life as well: https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/work-money/g30877473/african-american-inventors/?slide=2.
Though this can likely be said about most if not all educational topics, it must be said that the more you learn about Mr. McKinley Jones and his life, the more impressed you will be with the seemingly insurmountable obstacles he overcame to achieve such a feat as becoming the “first African American to receive the National Medal of Technology” (https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/work-money/g30877473/african-american-inventors/?slide=2).
Essentially orphaned at 9 years old, and deciding to run away just two years later, he lived on his own picking up odd jobs for years around the Midwest, while teaching himself automobile mechanics and developing a passion for working with machines (https://www.biography.com/inventor/frederick-jones).
If you read on in the previous link, you already know this, however it’s important to note that his achievements were not limited to the development of refrigeration: “Over the course of his career, Jones received more than 60 patents. While the majority pertained to refrigeration technologies, others related to X-ray machines, engines and sound equipment” (https://www.biography.com/inventor/frederick-jones); he would later be “ inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1977.”
To say that he led an impressive career might be an understatement. The work completed and inventions created by Frederick McKinley Jones is nothing short of monumental, and changed the foundation of our daily lives, paved the way for modern medicine and the transportation of food and medicine, and helped to save lives in World War II and was likely the very reason some of you are alive today. We have a lot to be grateful for in terms of modern technology improving our daily lives, however I hope that after reading this post you won’t forget to save space for Frederick McKinley Jones in your gratitude journals when considering the direct contributions he made to your life.