During our current age of forward thinking and constant innovation, it’s important to also take a step back and appreciate the groundbreaking ideas that brought us to where we are today. Many individuals dedicated themselves to bettering Americans’ day-to-day lives through their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit.
This month, Natural Gas Genius is proud to spotlight Alice H. Parker, a female trailblazer credited with groundbreaking efforts to implement the direct use of natural gas in American homes. Parker’s 1919 gas-based heating furnace patent has been a precursor for countless gas-based innovations to date, including modern-day central heating systems.
Parker’s accomplishments as a Black female engineer and the “Mother of Modern Heating” laid the foundation for generations of energy innovations, and more importantly, a future for women in STEM. In her early twenties, Parker was inspired to create a more functional heating solution for homes. With a strong belief in the safety and efficiency of natural gas, Parker chose to use gas in a time dominated by coal and wood for heat. Her novel heating system decreased the high risk of building fires and was both eco-friendly and convenient.
Parker’s patent is an outstanding achievement that millions of Americans benefit from today. Next time you get cozy and warm by your natural gas fireplace, be sure to give a quick thanks to Alice Parker.