Since the founding of the National Inventors Hall of Fame®(NIHF), nearly 600 visionary men and women, who conceived, patented and advanced the greatest technological achievements of our nation, have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Historical innovators like Joseph Lee and Charles Drew paved the way beyond science and technology by becoming trailblazers for African Americans. Today, pioneers like Marshall Jones continue to advance technologies and lead the way for the next generation of innovators.

Joseph Lee was the son of slaves, Boston-area entrepreneur Joseph Lee was a pioneer in the automation of bread and bread-crumb making during the late 1800s. The self-educated inventor was a successful hotel and restaurant owner who created his machines to allow for greater efficiency in his kitchens. By 1900, his devices were used by many of America’s leading hotels and were fixtures in hundreds of the country’s leading catering establishments.

Charles Drew is renowned for his work in blood plasma preservation, Charles Drew’s research into the storage, processing and shipment of blood plasma saved lives during World War II and reformed the U.S.’s blood bank process through standardization and advanced storage techniques. Drew started what would become bloodmobiles and became a trailblazer as the first director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank in New York.

Marshall Jones is mechanical engineer at General Electric who pioneered the use of lasers for industrial materials processing, particularly in the welding, drilling, and cutting of metals at a time when lasers were uncommon in materials processing. He invented novel methods to weld dissimilar metals, and developed fiber optic systems that made lasers more convenient for industrial applications.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame encourages all Americans to learn more about and honor these and other world-changing inventors during Black History Month and celebrate the advancement of our nation through the process of invention. You can learn more about the new inductees at

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

For more information, visit