The man whose work with inventions that enable homes around the world to have light and telephones, Lewis Howard Latimer died on December 11, 1928 in New York City, New York at age 80. He was born on September 4, 1848 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Lewis Latimer was an inventor and draftsman who is primarily known for his assistance in the invention and patents of the light bulb and telephone. He worked with Alexander Graham Bell in drafting the patent for the telephone and also with Thomas Edison with the light bulb. Latimer is credited with improving the initial light filament made by Edison (which would burn out quickly) with a longer lasting one. He also was the supervisor for electric lights being installed in New York, Philadelphia, Montreal and London.
Light bulb by Lewis Latimer, 1883 – Located in the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois.
Latimer patented inventions including the The Water Closet for Railroad Cars (co-patented with Charles W. Brown), a safety elevator, a device that was used in hospitals to prevent dust and particles (Apparatus for Cooling and Defecting) and others. Although, his primary legacy will be his role in two of the world’s greatest inventions (the light bulb and telephone), Latimer’s inventions helped improve the living, health and working conditions of people universally. He was married to the former Mary Wilson Lewis and they had two children.