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The Inventor

Granville Woods was an African American inventor who made key contributions to the development of the telephone, streetcar, and more.

Granville T. Woods, held various engineering and industrial jobs before establishing a company to develop electrical apparatus. He registered nearly 60 patents in his lifetime, including a telephone transmitter, a trolley wheel, and the multiplex telegraph (over which he defeated a lawsuit by Thomas Edison).

Woods's next most important invention was the power pick-up device in 1901, which is the basis of the so-called "third rail" currently used by electric-powered transit systems. From 1902 to 1905, he received patents for an improved air-brake system.


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