Community Association Living

CINC Systems is heavily focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and as we continue to grow as an organization, you’ll find us spending more time celebrating our employees, educating our staff, and taking action to build a more diverse workforce.

In building our DEI program, we’re first beginning with education and celebration. And in honor of Black History Month, we’re celebrating five Black inventors who are instrumental in building the American home. Without these inventors, we wouldn’t be here to make living in a professionally managed community a great experience.

Philip B. Downing. You don’t have to worry about troubles delivering mail and bills in a timely fashion thanks to Philip B. Downing, an American inventor with five patents under his name. He created a mailbox design that featured an outer door and an inner safety door to avoid parcels being stolen, and this safety device allowed mailboxes to be set up everywhere. In addition to modernizing the mailbox, Mr. Downing is also responsible for significant developments on street-railway switches, and envelop moisturizer, and an easily accessible desktop notepad.

Frederick McKinley Jones. The early 20th century included a wide myriad of Black inventors who used their technological expertise and ingenuity to modernize home appliances. One of the most prolific inventors was Frederick McKinley Jones, who patented more than 60 inventions in various fields between 1919 and 1945. One of his most popular inventions used by households every day was the refrigerator. Mr. Jones also heroically served in World War I in France as an electrician, and created one of the first mobile X-ray machines.

Ellen Elgin. Oftentimes technological innovation and home devices aren’t discussed as two of the same, yet this is often where the most significant inventions arise. Ellen Elgin created the first clothes wringer in 1888 that could wash and dry clothes significantly faster with two rollers. She chose to sell her invention to a white person to be patented, as she didn’t feel that the device would be used if consumers knew it was invented by a black woman. But her invention did indeed take off and became a home staple for several decades – until another Black inventor, George T Sampson, invented the modern clothes dryer.

John Albert Burr. Community managers, rejoice! You’re able to ensure that your properties have crisp, clean lawns thanks to John Albert Burr, who patented the first rotary blade lawn mower in May 1899. Mr. Burr was just a teenager during the Civil War, and after his family was freed, his incredible talent in the engineering field enabled him to gain sponsorship to attend private university. In total, Mr. Burr holds over 30 patents in lawn care and agricultural inventions.

Thomas Elkins. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t celebrate Thomas Elkins, who invented the first toilet in November 1897. We don’t think we need to explain why this is important, but it’s also important to note Mr. Elkins’ other accomplishments. He played a vital role in supporting the Underground Railroad in Albany, New York, and served as a medical examiner during the Civil War.

We hope that this quick read gives you better visibility into the incredibly significant role Black inventors play in the creation of the neighborhoods we service. To join us in our celebrations of different backgrounds and cultures at CINC Systems, follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our Newsletter to read future articles on our DEI initiatives.


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