Black History; Technology

A man that I have never heard of is Jan Ersnt Matzeliger. Jan Ernst Matzeliger was born September 15, 1852 – August 24, 1889. Jan was a revolutionary (engaged in or promoting political revolution) in the shoe industry with the invention of the lasting machine. Jan was born in Paramaribo (then Dutch Guyana, now Suriname). His father was a Dutch engineer of German descent who was living in Dutch Guyana. He was very wealthy and very educated. His mother was a black Surinamese slave of African descent. At the age of ten, he was apprenticed in the machine shops run by his father, where Matzeliger developed an interest in machinery and mechanics. He had some interest in mechanics in his native country, but his efforts at inventing a shoe-lasting machine began in the United States after a life of working in a machinery shop. After that he settled in at 19 after working as a sailor. By 1877, he spoke some (just enough to get by, since Dutch was his native tongue) English and had moved to Massachusetts.


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