In 1820, (Thomas Jennings) applied for a patent. Under the Patent Act of 1793, an individual had to sign an oath declaring that he was a citizen of the United States. Jennings, being a freeman, was a citizen and so was awarded the patent.
–National Inventors Hall of Fame
Thomas Jennings 1/1/1791- 2/11/1859
Unhappy with conventional methods of cleaning, Jennings discovers a more effective method (“dry scouring”) that did not harm clothes.
Jennings emerged as a leader in the abolitionist and civil rights movement in New York City.
After Jennings’ death, Frederick Douglass stressed that Jennings’ U.S. Patent recognized him as a “citizen of the United States,” a “shocking” designation for many during that time.
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