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Henry Blair received his first patent on October 14, 1834 for his seed planter invention. He was the second black man to patent his own creation. The Montgomery County, Maryland native looked for ways to help corn farmers plant seeds more effectively.

Because Blair was illiterate, he could not read or write, and therefore signed his patent form with a simple letter “X.” He is the only person in the U.S. Patent office known as “Colored Man.”  No other inventory in history, past or present, is identified simply by race or color.

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