Photos: African-American Inventors

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Jan E. Matzeliger

After 10 grueling years of steady and patient labor, Jan E. Matzeliger, a former sailor from Dutch Guiana, transformed the shoe industry with his invention of the Shoe-Lasting Machine. This automatic device produced 150 to 700 pairs of shoes daily, 14 times as many as expert cobblers could churn out by hand. Matzeliger's achievement made footwear more affordable for Americans.

(Photo: AN ROSENSTRAUCH/MCT /Landov)

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