Granville Tailer Woods (April 23, 1856 – January 30, 1910) was an American inventor who held more than 50 patents. He is also the first American of African ancestry to be a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. Self-taught, he concentrated most of his work on trains and streetcars. One of his notable inventions was the Multiplex Telegraph, a device that sent messages between train stations and moving trains. His work assured a safer and better public transportation system for the cities of the United States.
Granville T. Woods was born to Martha J. Brown and Cyrus Woods. He also had a brother named Lyates. His mother was part Native American, and his father was black. Granville attended school in Columbus until age 10, but had to leave due to his family's poverty, which necessitated in his need to work; he served an apprenticeship in a machine shop and learned the trades of machinist and blacksmith. Some sources of his day asserted that he also received two years of college-level training in "electrical and mechanical engineering," but little is known about where he might have studied.
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