Latimer made the lightbulb more practical and contributed to the invention of the first telephone.
Background: Latimer was born in Chelsea, Mass. His parents were slaves who had escaped from Virginia. His father, George Latimer, was tried for being a runaway in an extremely famous case, but was ultimately allowed to remain in Massachusetts as a free man.
Invention: Latimer worked with the famous inventor Hiram Maxim at the U.S. Electric Lighting Company. While working there in 1881, Latimer patented a carbon filament for the incandescent lightbulb. The invention helped make electric lighting practical and affordable for the average household.
Did You Know? Latimer kept great company in his career. In addition to working with Maxim, Latimer drafted the drawings that Alexander Graham Bell used to patent the first telephone in 1876. He also worked for Thomas Edison.