Seldom told is the story of Lewis Howard Latimer, yet his name should be synonymous with the history of electric light. The self-taught son of fugitive slaves, Latimer’s career spans from exemplary service for the Union in the Civil War to drafting a patent for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, to working for the famous inventor Hiram Maxim. In addition, he travels the world installing some of the first electric light facilities and winds up working for Thomas Alva Edison’s company, where he becomes the only African American “Edison Pioneer”.
This video is part of the IEEE REACH Program’s free education resources on Electric Light. The Inquiry Unit or lesson plan on Electric Lighting can be found here: