Thomas L. Jennings

Eric Shuford

Born: 1791
Death: 1859
Thomas L. Jennings was known as the first black person to receive a patent in the United States. His license was for his dry-scouring process, but fortunately, Jennings was a free man and retained the rights of his invention.
Jennings reputation grew so much that he was able to open his store on Church Street, which became to be one of the largest clothing stores in New York City.  Jennings hated to see the items he worked hard to create thrown away, so he found the right way to treat and clean them adequately. He called the method dry scouring; something we call dry cleaning today.