Sarah E. Goode

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Sarah E. Goode
Patent issued to Sarah E. Goode for the cabinet bed
Sarah Elisabeth Jacobs

DiedApril 8, 1905
Known forFirst African-American woman to receive a United States patent.

Sarah Elisabeth Goode (1855 – April 8, 1905) was an entrepreneur and inventor. She was the first African-American woman to receive a United States patent, which she received in 1885.[1] The first African-American woman to receive a patent was Judy W. Reed on September 23, 1884, but Reed only signed her patent with her mark (an X) and not her signature.[2]


Goode was born as Sarah Elisabeth Jacobs in 1850 in Toledo, Ohio, the same year as the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted.[3] Sarah Goode was the second of seven children of Oliver and Harriet Jacobs, both described in public records as mulattos. Oliver Jacobs, a native of Indiana was a carpenter.[4] She was born into slavery and when the American Civil War ended she was granted her freedom [5]. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois where she met and married Archibald "Archie" Goode, who was originally from Wise County, Virginia; they would have six children, of whom three would live to adulthood.[6][7] He described himself in the records as a "stair builder" and as an upholsterer; she opened a furniture store.[8]

Goode invented a folding cabinet bed which helped people who lived in tight housing to utilize their space efficiently. At the time of her invention, housing in New York City was expanding upwards, but became restricted in 1885 when New York City passed a law that restricted buildings to be under 80 feet, as to combat commercial buildings becoming too tall. This law began propping up the tenement system since it limited residential buildings being built higher, which in turn short circuited the housing structure for middle class workers.[9] Average sizes of tenements were about 25 feet wide and 100 feet long. [10] In these environments, every foot was important, and saving space was necessary. Goode heard of this problem in her furniture store in Chicago from customers, and set out to make a solution.[11] Goode's bed could be folded up, and it looked like a desk, with room for storage. She received a patent for it on July 14, 1885, and given patent number #322,177.[12][13][14][5] Her invention was the precursor to the Murphy bed, which was patented in 1900.[15] Her goal was to balance out the weight of the folding of the bed for it to be easily lifted up, folding and unfolding and to secure the bed on each side so that when folding the bed it would stay in its place. She provided supplementary support to the center of the bed when it is unfolded.[16]

Goode died on April 8, 1905 at the age of 50. It is unknown how she died.[16]



In 2012, the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, a science and math-focused high school was opened in her honor on the south side of Chicago.[17]


  1. ^ "Goode, Sarah E. (c.1855?-1905)". The Black Past. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  2. ^ "USPTO recognizes inventive women during Women's History Month". US Patent and Trademark Office. March 1, 2002. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "Inventor Sarah E. Goode, the first Black woman awarded a patent". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  4. ^ 1860 Federal Census for the Third Ward of the City of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, p. 203.
  5. ^ a b CalmX, some as; Artist, Was an Experimental; Director, Film; producer; Creator, Video Game Content; inventors, freelance writer for some 18 years She specialized in writing about; inventions; March 2015, in particular Bellis died in. "Who Was Sarah Goode?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  6. ^ 1870 Federal Census for the Second Ward, city of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, p. 148.
  7. ^ 1880 Federal census for Cook County (Illinois) Enumeration District 2, Sheet 43, Lines 19-26.
  8. ^ "Sarah E. Goode". Inventors. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  9. ^ "Download Limit Exceeded". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  10. ^ Editors, History com. "Tenements". HISTORY. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  11. ^ "Inventor Sarah E. Goode, the first Black woman awarded a patent". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  12. ^ Hiphopucit (February 27, 2011). "Black History: Sarah E. Goode – Inventor Of The Cabinet Bed". Hip Hop U-C-IT. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  13. ^ US patent 322177, Sarah E. Goode, "Cabinet-Bed", issued July 14, 1885 
  14. ^ Full patent image (12 pages) 322177 - Folding Beds - Sarah E. Goode at National Archives
  15. ^ "Mothers of Invention: Sarah E. Goode (Cabinet Bed)". Digging History. March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  16. ^ a b 1941–, Sullivan, Otha Richard (2002). African American Women Scientists and Inventors. Haskins, James, 1941–2005. New York: Wiley. ISBN 047138707X. OCLC 46456247.
  17. ^ Foroohar, Rana (February 24, 2014). "The School That Will Get You a Job". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved March 10, 2017.


External links[edit]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference :1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).