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Our Inspiration: The John Standard Story

  • john standard refrigerator inventor black history month

John Standard was a Black inventor. Born in 1868 in Newark, New Jersey, there is not much known
about his early life other than that he was born to Mary and Joseph Standard.  Standard helped
revolutionize the modern kitchen and was granted intellectual property rights to two patents throughout
his lifetime.

Standard’s improvements to kitchen appliances lead to more innovations in both refrigerator and stove
designs that would forever change the way people around the world stored and cooked their food.
Throughout his career, Standard defied the racial norms of the time by exploring scientific research into
cooling devices and stove constructions, a pursuit that was very limited for the Black community.
Standard’s refrigerator made in 1891 used a manually filled ice chamber for chilling. A few years later,
Standard continued working on innovations to improve the home kitchen, and his 1889 oil stove was a
space-saving design. This improvement on the standard stovetop received a patent in 1889.

John Standard is considered a notable inventor not only because of his inventions, but because he
managed to create novel solutions for problems during a time when segregation and racial tensions
divided the U.S. and the rights to intellectual property were not usually granted to Blacks or women.
John Standard died in 1900.

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