9. Henry Blair (1807–1860)

Notable inventions: Seed planter and cotton planter

Very little is known about Henry Blair’s background, but we do know that he invented the seed planter, a machine that allowed farmers to plant corn faster with less work. It’s also been documented that he was the second black inventor to ever be rewarded a patent for his work and was the only inventor to be identified as “a colored man” according to Patent Office records. Blair signed each patent by marking an “x” as his signature because he couldn’t write.