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Black Fact of the Week: Benjamin Banneker Invents America’s First Clock

benjamin banneker

A renowned astronomer, author, mathematician and inventor, Benjamin Banneker has many honorable distinctions under his belt. But in 1754, he accomplished one of his biggest feats when this brilliant innovator created the first clock made in America.

The story goes that Banneker borrowed a watch from a wealthy acquaintance, took it apart, then studied its components. After returning the watch, he was able to create a large replica made entirely from carved wooden pieces. The invention propelled Banneker’s reputation as a mastermind and he was able to open his own watch and clock repair business as a result.

Fun tidbit: Stevie Wonder gave Benjamin Banneker a shoutout on his song “Black Man” when he sang: “First clock to be made in America was created by a Black man.” 

Cool, right? Now we all can stare at that miserable clock at work with a little more pride.

Sources: Famous Black Inventors  & 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro by J.A. Rogers (pg. 11)

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