Archia Ross

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Archia L. Ross, an African American inventor,[a] received five U.S. patents for inventions at the turn of the 20th century. The inventions were a runner for stoops (1896),[1] a bag closure device (1898),[2] a wrinkle-preventing trouser stretcher (1899),[3] a garment-hanger (1903),[4] and a holder for brooms and like articles.[5] Ross was a resident of the New York City metropolitan area, who also patented some of the inventions in Canada.



Ross received a patent August 4, 1896 for a runner to be used on doorsteps and stoops (565,301). Runners were used to prevent slipping and falling on icy walkways. It could be used for private and public places. The basic design was a series of interlocking mats. The runner could be removed as needed and required minimal place for storage. Ross lived in New York City when the patent was filed.[1][6] The runner was also patented in Canada.[7]

On June 7, 1898, Ross was granted a patent for a bag closure device (605,343). The device allowed removal of waste from a home or business without spillage. The mouth of the bag hung open for easy filling. Once filled the bag closure sealed the opening preventing spilling when moved from one location to another.[2] The following year, the bag closure was patented in Canada.[8]

The third patent for a trouser support or stretcher (638,068) was issued on November 28, 1899. The invention could be used in a cabinet, closet or wardrobe. It had several hooks that allowed trousers to be hung without being folded over, thereby preventing the clothing from being wrinkled. It could accommodate several pairs of pants and the removal of a single pair of trousers was easy. At the time the patent was filed, Ross was living in Port Chester, New York.[3][9]

Ross then had a garment-hanger (723,031), patented on March 17, 1903, for trousers and skirts. The hanger contains eyes, loops, and arms to fasten the clothing. Ross lived in Manhattan at the time of the patent filing.[4][10] A patent was filed in Canada for the garment-hanger on January 7, 1904.[11]

On February 18, 1913, a patent was issued for a holder for brooms and like articles (1,053,747). The device was made to be attached to the wall and hold a number of articles. Ross was still living in Manhattan at the time of the patent.[5][12]


In 1915, Archia L. Ross had a store at 763 Lexington in Manhattan which sold wardrobe fixtures for hanging clothes. The home residence was 818 E. 214th Street.[13] Three years later, the listing was for Archie L. Ross and the business was located at 419 Lexington Avenue, with the same home residence.[14][a]


  1. ^ a b In 1920, Archia L. Ross was named as the father of Francis E. Ross of 818 E. 214th Street in New York (The Bronx),[15] the same address as Archia L. Ross, the seller of wardrobe fixtures for hanging clothes.[13] According to the newspaper obituary for Anna Ross: Archie L. Ross and Anna Ross, husband and wife, had lived at 818 E. 214th Street, Williamsbridge, The Bronx. Anna was born in Huntsville, Alabama. Archie predeceased Anna, who died in 1939.[16]

    According to U.S. Federal Census records, Archie L. Ross and Anna Ross were African-Americans who lived in Manhattan and the New York City locale in the late 19th century and early 20th century. For instance, in 1900, Archie L. Ross (born March 1858) and Annie Ross (born February 1862) lived in Manhattan with three children, Albert, Francis, and Archie; both parents were born in Alabama.[17] In 1920, Archie Ross, a wardrobe builder, lived on 214th Street in the Bronx with his wife, Anna and two children, Gilbert and Ruth. Albert Ross lived next door.[18]


  1. ^ a b United States Patent Office (1897). Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office. U.S. Patent Office. p. 736.
  2. ^ a b "Bag closure device". U. S. Patent Office. 1898-06-07. Retrieved 2018-05-28 – via Google patents.
  3. ^ a b "Trousers support or stretcher" (PDF), U.S. Patents and Trademark Office, 1899-08-23, retrieved 2018-05-28 – via Free Patents Online
  4. ^ a b "Garment-hanger" (PDF), U.S. Patents and Trademark Office, 1903-03-17, retrieved 2018-05-28 – via Free Patents Online
  5. ^ a b "Holder for brooms and like articles" (PDF), U.S. Patents and Trademark Office, 1913-03-18, retrieved 2018-05-28 – via Free Patents Online
  6. ^ Scientific American. Munn & Company. 1896. p. 176.
  7. ^ The Canadian Patent Office Record and Register of Copyrights and Trade Marks. Patent Office. 1897. p. 15.
  8. ^ United States. Patent Office (1899). Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 287.
  9. ^ Mindworks: Electricity Magnetism, Student Reader. Kendall Hunt. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7872-2973-3.
  10. ^ Notions and Fancy Goods. McCready Publishing Company. 1903. p. 36.
  11. ^ Canada. Patent Office (1904). The Canadian Patent Office Record. The Office. pp. 216–217.
  12. ^ Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office. The Office. 1913. p. 729.
  13. ^ a b "Ross, Archia L.", R. L. Polk & Co's Trow General Directory of New York City, p. 1576, 1915
  14. ^ "Ross, Archie L.", R. L. Polk & Co's Trow General Directory of New York City, p. 1638, 1918
  15. ^ Francis E. Ross, date May 10, 1920, Passport issued May 17, 1920, Passport #36659. U.S. Passport Applications. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1213; Volume #: Roll 1213 - Certificates: 36376-36749, 17 May 1920-17 May 1920.
  16. ^ "Williamsbridge Social Notes". The New York Age. March 11, 1939. p. 4. Retrieved 2018-05-28 – via
  17. ^ "Archie L. Ross, Manhattan", United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  18. ^ "Archie L. Ross, Bronx", United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.