Richard Spikes, innovator for industry
On this date in 1932, African American Richard B. Spikes received a patent for an automatic gear shift for cars. Major companies welcomed his inventions.
He invented a beer keg tap which Milwaukee Brewing bought. He invented automobile directional signals, which were first introduced in the Pierce Arrow, and soon became standard in all automobiles. For his innovative designs of transmission and gear-shifting devices, Spikes received over $100,000.00 in the 1930s.
By the time he was creating the automatic safety brake in 1962, Spikes was losing his vision. To complete the device, he first created a drafting machine for blind designers. The machine would soon be used in almost every school bus in the nation.
Richard Spikes died in 1963.
Created Equal: The Lives and Ideas of Black American Innovators
By James Michael Brodie
Copyright 1993, by Bill Adler Books, Inc.
William Morrow and Co. Inc., New York
Today in American History