LEWIS H. LATIMER
About Lewis H. Latimer
Inventor & Pioneer
Lewis Howard Latimer (1848-1928) was an African-American inventor and electrical pioneer. Determined to overcome his lack of formal education, he taught himself mechanical drawing while in the Union Navy, and eventually became a chief draftsman, patent expert, and inventor.
Latimer worked with three of the most celebrated scientific inventors in American history, Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Alva Edison. He played a critical role in the development of the telephone, significantly improved the production of carbon filament, and made important contributions to the commercialization of the incandescent light bulb.
Outside his professional career, he developed a passion for visual art, creative writing, and music. Each year, PS 56 students take a trip to the Lewis Latimer House Museum, to view products of his artistic endeavors and learn about the school's namesake.