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Meet The Early 20th Century Black Female Inventor Who Created The Central Heating System

You can thank Alice Walker, a Black woman and 20th century inventor, for creating the central heating system this winter.

The next time the temperature drops to unbearably low levels and you decide to turn the heat up on your thermostat, you can thank a Black woman named Alice H. Parker for her ingenious plan to change how we heat our homes today.

Parker was born in 1895 in Morristown, New Jersey. She was a Black inventor in the early 20th century who created a central heating system that used natural gas. According to the Michigan Chronicle, her invention made heating homes safer and quicker.

Before central heating, people relied on coal-burning stoves and open fireplaces to warm cold homes. Parker wanted to create a way for heat to disperse throughout a home while also improving the efficiency and safety of how homes were heated.

Her unique idea to use natural gas provided a more abundant and cleaner resource. The revolutionary invention helped reduce the use of coal and decreased the risks associated with older methods of generating heat in a residential space. Natural gas was a resource that was seldom used as a method to provide warmth in homes. 

Parker was one of the few Black women inventors of her time. In 1919 she received a patent for her central heating system. People no longer had to gather around stoves or fireplaces to get warm. 

Winter is almost here, which means the cold weather is quickly approaching. Parker’s invention and its impact on how people stay warm in their homes during the colder months were recognized, studied, and refined by engineers and manufacturers, which led to the central heating systems our houses use today.