Charles Brooks was born in Virginia it is believed back in 1865. There are no records of who his parents were, his upbringing including but not limited to any education he may have received. However, for this post all of that doesn’t really matter, so let’s get to it shall we.
In the 1890’s you could find him living in Newark, New Jersey working as a porter for the Pullman Palace Car Company. Nothing to write home about, right?
Well that wasn’t good enough for Charles, he invented something in which he received a patent for in 1896 #556,711, just a few months later he got another patent #560,154.
His invention and his second was so successful that the Pennsylvania state government gave him a $110,000.00 contract. In Buffalo, New York the superintendent adopted Brook’s design as the model for the city. His last invention was in 1893, patent # 507,672.
What you may not know about Charles is that he was an African-American. He invented the first self-propelled street sweeping truck, his design had revolving brushes attached to the front fender. He also invented the first interchangeable scraper for removing snow during the winter. His second invention was for a dust-proof collection for the street sweeper. The last one was for a paper punch, unique for its time because unlike hole puncher of today, his had a built-in receptacle to catch the round pieces of waste paper, preventing littering. I could not find any information about his death.
Until tomorrow give someone the free gift of a smile.