patent drawing of cabinet bed

Sarah E. Goode  1850 – 1905

The person who said that “necessity is the mother of invention” must have known Sarah E. Goode. Born as the second of seven children to a slave family in Ohio, Sarah (nee Jacobs) was freed at the end of The Civil War. Her family then moved to Chicago to establish themselves in their new, emancipated lives.

Sarah met and married Archibald Goode, a carpenter and furniture maker. Sarah opened a furniture store catering to the working class people in their area. Their customers lived in small, crowded apartments with little sleeping or storage space.

To help them, Sarah invented and patented a “cabinet-bed”, a clever piece of furniture that was both a functional desk and a foldaway bed. It provided sleeping space, storage, and a writing area in a single unit. She was the first African-American woman to hold a U.S. patent. Sarah is an inspiration to women facing huge life challenges and hoping to succeed in a competitive world.

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