Sarah E. Goode: The First Black woman to receive a patent and Trademark

Sarah Elisabeth Goode

Sarah E. Goode was an entrepreneur and inventor. She was the first American woman of African heritage to receive a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1885 (Patent #322,17). Although there is still a debate over who was the first recipient of the patent number, some say Judy Reed 1884 patented a dough-kneading machine. However, Reed only signed her patent with her mark (x), not her signature. We should celebrate and honor their accomplishments, but I am writing about Mrs. Goode for this blog post. Her accomplishments have allowed many black women to come after her for patents and inventions.

Early age

In 1856, Sarah Jacob was born in Toledo, Ohio as a slave but gained freedom at the end of the Civil War. She was the second child of seven children to Mr. and Mrs. Oliver and Harriet Jacobs. Upon emancipation, she migrated to Chicago, Illinois. She met her future husband in Windy City, Archibald Goode, who was a native of Virginia. The two married in 1880. The couple saved to purchase, own, and operate a furniture store that year.

The Invention

Sarah E. Goode's Cabinet bed patent
Patent Issue for Sarah E. Goode’s Cabinet bed, issued July 14, 1885 (wikipedia)

As the furniture store owner, she noted that city apartment dwellers often had little space for beds, and her customers often complained that they had no room for furniture or storage spaces. To solve the problem, she created a prototype of the Folding Cabinet Bed that would be used to sleep at night and as a roll-top desk during the day. She conceived the design of what we know today as the “hideaway” bed. She described the plan as “a folding bed” whose hinged sections were easily raised or lowered. Goode’s invention could be a desk when not in use as a bed. Goode received her patent in July 1885. One could guess that Sarah got her knowledge of carpentry and entrepreneurship experience from watching her father and her husband, both carpenters.

A similar style of bed was patented more than thirty years later in 1916 as the Murphy bed, which is a bed that folds out of a wall or cabinet to provide extra space in your bedroom.

Her family life

Goode’s name appears in the Cook County, Illinois, US Census for 1880, when she lived with her husband Archibald, her daughter, and several boarders. According to these records, the couple had six children, of whom three would live to adulthood. Her age is 24, giving her a birth date of around 1856. She is listed as Mulatto, as is her daughter, but her husband, Archibald, is listed as White.

 Photo Credit: Innov8tiv Photo Credit: Innov8tiv

Summary/Facts about Sarah G. Goode

  1. Sarah E. Goode became the first African-American woman to be granted a patent in 1885 for her innovation of a folding cabinet bed. The bed’s ability to be folded and transformed into a desk makes it a useful space-saving option for small dwellings.
  2. 1855 she was born to a carpenter’s father in Toledo, Ohio. Goode’s father taught her carpentry skills, and she later succeeded as an entrepreneur.
  3. After moving there, Goode and her husband established “Goode & Company” as a furniture company in Chicago in 1885. The shop offered her a unique cabinet bed, furniture, and home goods.
  4. Goode fought to better the lives of African Americans in Chicago and was a committed member of her community. She belonged to the Colored Women’s League and Olivet Baptist Church.
  5. Sarah E. Goode was a successful actress, but little is known about her personal life, and there aren’t many images of her. Her reputation endures as a pioneer for African-Americans and women in invention and entrepreneurship.


Sarah Goode died in Chicago in 1905 and was buried in Graceland Cemetery. In her honor, a school was named after her in Chicago. The Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy is an institution that gives exposure to gifted students in math and science.


Willie Fay Schroeder Obituary – Odessa, TX.

Sarah Goode Becomes First African-American Woman to ….

Sarah Goode: Entrepreneur and Inventor –

Sarah E. Goode Biography, Life, Interesting Facts.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles