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GRANVILLE T. WOODS

INVENTOR (1856-1910)

During his lifetime, Granville Woods obtained some 50 patents.  Granville T. Woods is sometimes called the "Black Thomas Edison" because he invented so many electrical devices.  During his lifetime Granville woods obtained more than fifty patents for electrical devices that he invented.  Granville was called an "extremely prolific and brilliant inventor."  He was born in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended school until the age of ten.  When he was sixteen years old, Granville got a job as a fireman-engineer with the railroad.  He also began to study electrical and mechanical engineering.  In 1887, Granville made the most important invention of his time.  He invented a railway telegraph system. 

This invention allowed crew members on moving trains to communicate with one another and with railroad stations.  It made rail traffic safer because it helped trains to avoid collisions.  Serious accidents could also be avoided because conductors could be forewarned of obstacles in the train's path.  Another of Granville's inventions was a regulator which made electrical motors run better.  Demands for his equipment became so widespread that he quit his regular job to devote full-time work for further inventions.  An overhead conducting system for electric railways, is still used by trains and trolley cars today.  In 1884, he invented a steam boiler furnace.  He next invented an amusement apparatus. 

In 1890, he invented an electrically heated egg incubator which made it possible to hatch 50,000 eggs at a time.  Granville also invented a relay instrument, and automatic air brake, an electric battery, a telephone transmitter, and devices for telegraph and railway systems.  Granville sold many of his inventions to such large electrical companies as General Electric, Westinghouse, and Bell Telephone.  At the time of his death in 1910, Granville T. Woods' achievements had gained him worldwide attention and recognition.

Revised: July 18, 2013.