We want to give a hat tip to @ddsoffice for pointing us to this incredible story.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger (September 15, 1852 – August 24, 1889) was an inventor of Surinamese and Dutch descent best known for patenting the shoe lasting machine, which made footwear affordable for all. Matzeliger would toil for years, skimping on food to save money, and rooting through junkyards and factory dumps for good parts to fit his requirements. His patent was 15 pages long and was so complex the patent office needed explanation. They too were amazed that such insight and ideas came from such a poor lonely black man. He would eventually build and commercialize his machine in 1885 and within a decade every shoe manufacture would acquire at least one of his machines. Matzeliger would not get rich. He would sell his patents a few years prior to his death for $15,000. His patents would form the base for the United Shoe Machinery Corporation which would later monopolize shoe manufacturing.
The story of Jan Matzeliger would go virtually unknown until the early 1990’s. You can read the full life story of Jan Matzeliger [HERE].
If you enjoyed this article, you should become an Intelligent Fanatics member. As a member, you get our current and future Intelligent Fanatics books, case studies, online courses, and transcripts for free, as well as the ability to participate here on our community. Join Us.