Sarah Boone was born Sarah Marshall in the deep south of Craven County, North Carolina in February 1834. Sarah was an African American inventor who on April 26, 1892, obtained United States patent rights for her improvements on the ironing board.
Sarah’s ironing board was designed to improve the quality of ironing sleeves and the bodies of women garments. The board was very narrow, curved, and made of wood. The shape and structure allowed it to fit a sleeve and it was reversible, so one could iron both sides of the sleeve.
In her patent application, she wrote that the purpose of her invention was “to produce a cheap, simple, convenient and highly effective device, particularly adapted to be used in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies’ garments.”
Prior to her invention, people was forced to resort to simply using tables or being creative in laying a plank of wood across two chairs or small tables. The registration filling was U.S. Patent #473,653 on July 23, 1891.
On November 25, 1847, in New Bern, she married a freedman named James Boone, they would have eight children. The Boone family left North Carolina for New Haven, Connecticut before the outbreak of the American Civil War. James worked as a brick mason until his death in 1874, while Sarah worked as an dressmaker.
Sarah Boone died in New Haven Connecticut in 1904 and was buried in a family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven.