Granville Woods
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Granville Tailer Woods (1856 - 1910)

Granville Tailer Woods
Born in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United Statesmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died in New York City, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Oct 2009
This page has been accessed 1,298 times.
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Granville Woods is Notable.

Granville T. Woods was born in Columbus, Ohio, on 23 April 1856, a free Black. He attended school until age 10, when he was placed in a machine shop to be trained as a machinist and blacksmith. Meanwhile, he continued his education by attending night school.[1]

In 1872, he went west and obtained work as a fireman and later as an engineer on an Iron Mountain Railroad in Missouri. In his spare time he studied electricity. In December 1874 he moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he worked in a rolling mill, until early 1876, when he went east to begin two years of college study in mechanical and electrical engineering, while also working in a machine shop. Beginning in 1878 he spent two years at sea as an engineer on a British steamship. During 1880 he handled a locomotive on the D & S Railroad. [1]

In the 1880s he established a factory in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the manufacture of telephone, telegraph, and electrical instruments.[1]

His intentions were to invent things that put electricity into convenient use for Americans, particularly relating to the railroad industry. One of his most significant inventions was a system intended for the engineer of a train to know how close he was to other trains. This prevented accidents and collisions between trains. He also invented the induction telegraph system, it allowed messages to be sent to and from trains, which also help prevent collision.

He came across some difficulties with Thomas Edison involving his inventions. Edison sued Woods with hopes to justify that he was the inventor of the multiplex telegraph. He obviously saw Woods as competition and wanted recognition for this invention but, in the end, Woods won the case. Edison didn’t give up that easily, he never did, so he tried to beguile Woods. He offered Granville Woods a job at his engineering company but Woods profoundly denied him. He did not let this dilemma hold him back, he continued down the path of success.

Eventually he became one of the greatest electricians in the world.

There wasn’t much said about his family but they were completely supportive of his career. He and his brother organized Woods Electrical Company. The company prospered, as he was successful in selling his invention to some of the country's largest corporations. There were problems with train telegraphic equipment, but he later invented a train telegraph that did not depend on contact between the moving train and the conducting wire.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Simmons, William J., and Henry McNeal Turner. Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising. G. M. Rewell & Company, 1887. Pages 107-112.

See also:

  • "List of Patents," The Boston Daily Globe 11 Apr 1885: 3. Print. Clipping.
  • Granville T. Woods Wikipedia article
  • Wikidata: Item Q3115447 help.gif
  • Fouche, Ravon. "Black inventors in the age of segregation: Granville T. Woods," Lewis H. Latimer, and Shelby J. Davison. 1. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 2003. Print.
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 26 July 2018), memorial page for Granville T. Woods (23 Apr 1856–30 Jan 1910), Find A Grave: Memorial #6815463, citing Saint Michael's Cemetery, East Elmhurst, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  • Bellis, Mary. "Granville T Woods 1856-1910: Biography of a Black Edison," n. pag. Web. 28 Oct 2009. archived web link
  • "The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association." Granville T. Woods. Web. 28 Oct 2009. Archived web link.
  • Hayden, Robert. 9 African American Inventors. 1. New York: A division of Henry Holt, 1970. Print.
  • link

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Memories: 2
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"-He invented an electric rail system that provided electricity to power a railroad. He made numerous improvements to it throughout his career. The process is widely used in subways.4"
  • he ended a racial stereotype for african americans
posted 30 Oct 2009 by alexis whitfield
"I believe I can do anything if i just try"
posted 29 Oct 2009 by alexis whitfield
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1.Bellis, Mary. "Granville T Woods 1856-1910." Biography of a Black Edison n. pag. Web. 28 Oct 2009. <>

2.N/A, N/A. "The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association." Granville T. Woods. Web. 28 Oct 2009. <>.

3.Hayden, Robert. 9 African American Inventors. 1. New York: A division os Henry Holt, 1970. Print.

4.Fouche, Ravon. Black inventors in the age of segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer, and Shelby J. Davison. 1. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 2003. Print.


posted by alexis whitfield