Sarah Elisabeth Goode was an inventor and Entrepreneur from America. She became the first African-American woman to obtain a United States patent, which she did in 1885. Although the very first African-American woman to get a patent was Judy W. Reed about a year before Goode, Reed had used her mark (an X) to sign the patent and not her signature. A native of Ohio, Goode was born in an enslaved family. Following the end of the American Civil War, she gained her freedom. The family subsequently relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where she eventually exchanged wedding vows with Archibald Goode. They became parents of six children, of whom three made it past infancy. At some point, she set up a furniture store. Goode designed a folding cabinet bed that was perfect for people living in tight housing and allowed them to make use of their space in a more efficient manner. In the ensuing years, her creation garnered significant popularity. It is now known as the hide-away bed. It was also the precursor of the Murphy Bed.
Invention & Patent
Sarah Goode was the designer of a folding cabinet bed that is ideal for people residing in tight housing to employ their space most economically. When she built this thing, the housing infrastructure in New York City was stretching vertically. However, a law was passed in the city in 1885 that prohibited buildings from being taller than 80 feet. This law was implemented to fight the construction of commercial buildings that were too tall. It led to the advent of the tenement system as it restricted residential buildings’ heights, which in turn made the housing structure problematic for people belonging to the middle class. In average, the tenements were about 25 feet wide and 100 feet long. In such circumstances, not even a foot of space could be wasted.
Goode had a furniture shop of her own in Chicago. When she came to know about the issue with space in New York from her customers, she decided to come up with a solution. Goode’s bed was a folding one and had the appearance of a roll-top desk. There was also extra space for storage.
She obtained a patent for her creation on July 14, 1885, and received the patent number #322,177. Her invention is currently known as the hide-away bed. It also was the precursor of the Murphy Bed, named after its creator, William Lawrence Murphy.
Goode set out to design a bed in which the weight of the folding of the bed would be distributed in such a way that it could be almost effortlessly lifted. She also ensured that the bed would be stable on each side, so it would remain immobile during folding. She created supplementary support to the centre of the bed for the times it is unfolded.
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Family & Personal Life
Born Sarah Elisabeth Jacobs in 1850 in Toledo, Ohio, USA, Goode was the second of seven children of Oliver and Harriet Jacobs. Both of her parents have been referred to as mulattos in public records. Her father was originally from Indiana, and he worked as a carpenter. Her birth year was also the one when the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted. Born a slave, Goode became free following the conclusion of the American Civil War. At some point after that but before 1870, she relocated to Chicago, Illinois, with her family.
In Chicago, she became acquainted with Archibald "Archie" Goode, who was a native of Wise County, Virginia. They had tied the knot by 1880. They went on to have six children, three of who made it to adulthood. In public records, he proclaimed himself to be a "stair builder" and as an upholsterer.
Death & Legacy
Goode passed away on April 8, 1905, due to an unknown cause. She was 50 years old at the time. In 2012, the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, a high school that focuses on STEM subjects, was established in her honour on the south side of Chicago.