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Granville Tailer Woods

Granville Tailer Woods was an American inventor who held more than 50 patents in the United States. He was the first African American mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. Self-taught, he concentrated most of his work on trains and streetcars. Woods started an electric company in Cincinnati, Ohio, to research, manufacture, and sell his electrical inventions. He patented many electrical systems for railways. One invention allowed people to send voice and Morse Code messages over the same wires. Another invention allowed people on moving trains to communicate with people on other trains or in stations. This invention could help prevent accidents, as each train could be made aware of the locations of the trains right behind it and right in front of it. Woods also invented a way for trains to run on electricity instead of steam and a way for train brakes to be improved by using electricity. in 1890 Woods moved to New York City. There he patented many changes to the equipment used in the electric street car system. Woods designed a grooved wheel called a troller that allowed the car to receive electric current while reducing friction. The term trolley car came from that invention. Woods died on January 30, 1910, in New York City.

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