Henry Blair was born free in Glen Ross, Maryland, United States in 1807. Blair invented the Seed- Planter. He received his first patent on October 14, 1834, which allowed farmers to plant more corn using less labor in a smaller amount of time. The machine also help with weed control.
Little is known about Blair private life, except that he was probably a free man since the patent would not have been approved to be in the name of a slave.
Blair was the only inventor to be identified in the patent records as “a colored man.” He was illiterate, unable to read and write. At the time he filed his patent application, Blair had signed his patent with a simple “X”.
Blair had a gift for invention and did not allow his race, lack of education or other negative factors of the time to hold him back.
Two-years later, on August 31,1836, Blair obtained a second patent for a Cotton Planter. This invention worked by splitting the ground with two shovel-like blades, which were pulled along by a horse. A wheel-driven cylinder followed behind which dropped the seeds into the newly plowed ground.
Henry Blair died in 1860 of unknown causes.