Inventors are inspirational. Lyda Newman was an inventor, hairdresser, civil rights activist, and women’s rights activist. She invented an improved hairbrush design. Being an African-American woman and given the historical time period she lived, there are many personal details of her life that are unknown. Her life, nonetheless, made a significant impact.
Lyda Newman was born around 1885 in Ohio. She moved to New York City when she was older and is known to have lived in New York City for most of her adult life. She lived on Manhattan’s West Side and worked as a hairdresser for a private family for some time. Her work led to her applying for a patent for a new hairbrush. This may have been the first brush with synthetic bristles, but was without doubt designed with unique features. It had rows of bristles and open spaces in between. These spaces allowed debris to fall into a compartment behind them. The back could be opened to allow for cleaning. She received her patent on November 15, 1898.
In 1915, Lyda Newman was in the newspaper for her suffrage work. She was an organizer of an African-American branch of the Woman Suffrage Party. She canvassed neighborhoods and organized meetings to bring voting rights to African-American women, as well as, all women of New York.
Just as many inventions do, her invention solved a problem and helped many people. Be inspired! Have a bright day!