Sarah Goode was born into slavery in 1855, in Toledo, Ohio. Her birth name was Sarah Elizabeth Jacobs. Sarah was the second of seven children born to Oliver and Harriet Jacobs. Her father was a carpenter and a native of Indiana. When the American Civil War ended the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she met and married Archibald ‘Archie’ Goode, who was a stair builder and originally from Wise County, Virginia. Together they had six children.

Sarah realized that living space in urban apartments in Chicago was limited. Sarah came up with a idea out of necessity of times. She invented a folding cabinet bed that helped people who lived in tight housing to utilize their space efficiently, with hinged section that were easily raised and lowered. Known today as the hide-away bed or Murphy bed. When the bed was not being used, the invention could easily be used as a desk, with room for storage where there was small compartments for storing supplies.

On July 14, 1885, Sarah was granted patent number 322,177 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for her folding cabinet bed, making her the first African-American woman to receive a patent in the U.S.

With both her father and her husband as carpenters, this could have influenced her knowledge about furniture construction.

Aside from Sarah invention and lineage, little is known about her life.

It is believed that Sarah Goode died in Chicago on April 8, 1905.


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