1849 – Andrew Jackson Beard was born a slave on a plantation in Woodland in Jefferson County, Alabama.
– Andrew Beard was a farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, a railroad worker, a businessman and finally an inventor.
1864-1865 – When he was 15, he was emancipated, and he married at the age of 16.
1873 – His design is an improvement on an earlier patent (U.S. Patent 138,405) awarded to Eli H. Janney.
1881 – He invented and patented a new design of plow which he sold three years later for $4,000.
1887 – He invented a second plow which he sold for $5,200.
1892 – He also patented a rotary steam engine.
1897 – His invention joined two cars together simply by bumping them against each other and was patented in November.
– It was known as the Jenny Coupler and revolutionized the railway industry, becoming the forerunner of today’s automatic coupler.
– Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio for his contributions to rail transport coupler design.