Sarah Boone

Born: 1832

Died: 1904

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Being an inventor who improved the ironing board.

Boone was one of the first Black women to achieve a patent.

By her later years, she made enough money to buy her own house.

Boone’s invention is still used all over the world to this day.

Sarah Boone

Life story


Early life


Sarah Boone was an inventor, and one of the first Black women to be awarded a patent in the United States. Born an enslaved person, Boone overcame the odds to successfully invent improvements to the ironing board. In this era, African Americans were not taught to read and write, so she faced a lot of disadvantages, but this did not stop her.


Invention success


Boone’s improvements were designed to make it easier to iron sleeves and the bodies of women’s clothes. She patented her device and was awarded U.S. patent number 473,563 for her improvements to the ironing board. On her improved version, the body was very narrow, curved, and made from wood. This structure allows it to fit a sleeve. It was also reversible, so people could iron both sides of the sleeve.


Boone was one of four African American women to invent new technology for the home in her time. Her invention is still the basis for ironing boards today, and is used all over the U.S. and other countries.

What did Boone improve? What was the structure of Boone’s invention like? Why was it amazing that Boone was so successful?

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