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The Trojan War

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Granville T. Woods lived from April 23, 1856 until January 30, 1910. Born and raised in Ohio, he attended school off and on until he was 10 years old. After Woods stopped going to school, he furthered his education by working in railroad machine shops, steel mills, and by reading about electricity. He had to get his friends to check out library books for him, since African-Americans were excluded from many libraries at the time. He educated himself outside of school. He learned the trades of machinists and blacksmith. Woods took a mechanical engineering course in an eastern college. And in 1878, he became and engineer aboard the Ironsides, a British Steamer. Within two years, he became Chief Engineer of the steamer.

Despite his engineering skill and credentials, it was obvious to him that advancement in these jobs was virtually impossible. So he did what almost any black man would do, he formed his own company, Woods' Railway Telegraph Company, to produce and market his telegraph and other inventions. Woods' received his first patent in 1884 on an improved Steam Boiler Furnace. He sold a lot of inventions to American Bell Telephone Company and the General Electric Company. Some of the other inventions that he invented are: the telephone, (Woods telephone was far superior to Alexander Graham Bell's) that was invented in 1884, the Trolley Car in 1888, the Railway Telegraph in 1887, Railway Air Brakes (the first method of stopping trains) in 1903, and The Third Rail. He patented over 60 different inventions. Many people say his most remarkable invention, was the induction telegraph, a system for communicating to and from moving trains.

Woods successfully defended lawsuits against his patent. Two by Thomas Edison and one by another inventor named Phelps. At the end of the day, Edison tried to offer Woods a job and buy his company, but his offer was flatly rejected. Woods was definitely a stand up guy hand (he sure wasn't a sellout).



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