This year is the 160th anniversary of the birth a natural, self-taught, engineering genius from Columbus Ohio. Some of his inventions were bought by the likes of Westinghouse and General Electric and his legacy of over 50 patents made a significant contribution to the development of electronics and engineering in the 20th century.
Granville T. Woods
Granville Tailer Woods was the first American of African descent to become a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.
Most of his inventions related to trains and streetcars, the most notable being the Multiplex Telegraph. It was a device that allowed messages to be sent between moving trains and stations. An incredible breakthrough for the railway networks, it made public transportation in the United States much more safe and secure.
Security systems for the transport industry are today more important than ever before. Granville Woods was one of the first pioneers and many have endeavoured to follow his lead, including ourselves here at Advanced Perimeter Systems Limited.
Rail & Transport Security
Many companies involved with goods transportation (haulage yards, rail heads etc) have long used our systems to provide a suitable perimeter security solution. A good example of this is rail head security where our fence detection system in particular has proved highly successful.
Extra Note: There is one aspect of Granville Woods’ story that we feel merits a special mention. It reflects the man’s self belief and strength of character and has contributed to the great esteem in which his work is held by today’s engineering and electronics community.
During his life, it seems other inventors made claims to his devices. One such claim was made by Thomas Edison who stated that he was the first to create a similar device and therefore was entitled to the patent. Granville Woods defended himself successfully against Edison’s claim – not just once, but twice.
Edison offered Woods a job with the Edison Company. Granville declined.
Sadly, up until 1975, Granville’s final resting place was an unmarked grave. However, historian M.A. Harris helped to raise funds and persuaded several of the corporations that used Woods’ inventions to donate towards a headstone. It was erected at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Elmhurst, Queens New York.