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Sarah E. Goode
Sarah E. Goode
Sarah E. Goode was an entrepreneur and inventor. She was the first African American woman to receive a United States patent. Goode was born in 1850 into slavery. She was freed after the American Civil War and proceeded to open a furniture store in Chicago, Illinois. She noticed that those who lived in apartments in the city had very little space for beds, so she invented a folding cabinet bed and received patent for it on July 14, 1885. When the cabinet bed was folded up it looked like a desk, including spaces for writing instruments and storage.



Goode was born in 1850 into slavery. She was freed after the American Civil War and proceeded to open a furniture store in Chicago, Illinois. She noticed that those who lived in apartments in the city had very little space for beds, so she invented a folding cabinet bed and received patent for it on July 14, 1885. When the cabinet bed was folded up it looked like a desk, including spaces for writing instruments and storage

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Due to the limited living spaces of urban life, many of her customers complained about not having enough room to place full-size beds in their apartments. Goode was inspired to design and construct what is known today as the Folding Bed.

Goode's first model of a bed folded into a cabinet. It additionally served as a roll-top desk and stationery shelf. Her idea was so widely used that Goode applied for and was awarded a patent on July 14, 1885. (Patent #322,177[1], for a cabinet bed).

A similar style of bed was patented more than thirty years later in 1916 as the Murphy bed. It was concealed behind a closet door or wall, rather than inside a piece of furniture, such as the cabinet bed. Today it is known as a "folding bed" or the "hide away bed".

Goode's name appears in the Cook County, Illinois US Census for 1880, when she was living with her husband Archibald, her daughter, and several boarders. Her age is listed as 24, giving her a birth date of around 1856. She is listed as Mulatto, as is her daughter; Archibald is listed as White. While other biographical sources agree that Goode was born into slavery, the Census notes she stated she was born in Spain to Spanish parents.

A 43-year-old woman named Sarah E. Goode died in Chicago on April 8, 1905. If this is the same Sarah E. Goode, there is a three to five year age discrepancy.





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