Mothers of Invention: Sarah E. Goode (Cabinet Bed)

She was born Sarah Jacobs to parents Oliver and Harriet Jacobs of Toledo, Ohio in approximately 1855.  The family was enumerated in the 1860 Census in Toledo, listed as being of the Mulatto race, and Oliver was a carpenter.  By 1870 the family had migrated to Chicago where Oliver was still employed as a carpenter.  Sarah was fifteen years old that year and by the 1880 census she had married Archibald Goode, he employed as a stair builder.

Curiously, on the 1880 census, Sarah’s birth place, as well as that of her parents, is listed as “Spain”.  It does seem that there are several versions of her life story, including that she was born into slavery – if she was born in Ohio, I don’t believe that was the case.  Some sources have her being freed after the Civil War and moving to Chicago to become an entrepreneur, opening a furniture store, presumably with Archibald.  The reason given for her invention was that she heard stories of people needing a bed that didn’t take up a lot of space.

CabinetBedWhatever her history was, set that aside and take a look at her 1885 patent for a folding bed – if it was invented to save people space then it was truly a genius idea (and pretty cool looking).  It was called a cabinet bed and the patent was granted on July 14, 1885.

GoodeBedHer invention was a forerunner of the Murphy bed which was patented in 1900.  I like her invention because it could double as a roll-top desk.  Her invention also reminded me of a folding bathtub I saw in Encampment, Wyoming:

FoldingTubSarah Goode is acclaimed as the first African-American woman to receive a patent.  Time Magazine recently had an article about a new high school   located on Chicago’s south side that is named in her honor.  Attendees of the school are not called students, but rather “innovators”.  Touted as a “school that will get you a job”, it is focused on STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

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© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.

13 Comments

  1. thank you i got some info for my project

    Reply
    • I hope you got an A! 🙂

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    • Yeah I have a project too.This helped me a lot.

      Reply
  2. Hey, thanks.

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    • you are welcome we couldnt have done it without sarah e goode

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      • Darrion what are u doing and i put out all my hopes to sarah e goode i just bough me an folding cabinet bed and it is so lovely thx to sarah i have storage and a folding bed even thou i have a kind sized bed i love this bed and thus is my sons black history month project thx sarah😁😌😇

        Reply
  3. Thanks!! Great info for my daughters project!!

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    • Awesome! Always happy to pass on some unique history to the young ones.

      Reply
  4. thanks my project is due in 2 days and I needed this

    Reply
    • Hope you get an A! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Thank you for the information this will be perfect for my African American Report due Jan.26, 2017

    Reply
    • Good luck with your report — be sure to use citations 🙂

      Reply
  6. Hey is there a quote that you would say about Sara e good or what do you think of her ? My sister needs this for her project.

    Reply

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