Granville T. Woods: The Inventor’s Inventor

…steam boiler furnace and an automatic air brake used to slow or stop trains. Wood’s electric car was powered by overhead wires. It was the third rail system to keep cars running on the right track.

Success led to lawsuits filed by Thomas Edison who sued Woods claiming that he was the first inventor of the multiplex telegraph. Woods eventually won, but Edison didn’t give up easily when he wanted something. Trying to win Woods over, and his inventions, Edison offered Woods a prominent position in the engineering department of Edison Electric Light Company in New York.

Woods declined, preferring his independence. Thereafter, Woods was often known as “Black Edison.”