Lewis Latimer Hand Puppet

Lewis Latimer Hand Puppet

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Description (Brief)
This large arm puppet represents Lewis Latimer (1848-1928), an outstanding 19th century African American scientist, engineer, and inventor. This Latimer puppet was created in 1998 specially for a Lemelson Center educational program titled "The Renaissance Man," which was a celebration of Latimer's 150th Anniversary and his contributions to science and society. Made solely of fabric and batting, this soft, plush puppet wears a bright blue suit over a green vest and dons a pair of small spectacles.
Lewis Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts and learned mechanical drawing while working in a patent attorney's office in Boston. In 1873 he invented the first toilet system for railroad cars. He also invented an electric lamp with an inexpensive carbon filament and a threaded wooden socket for light bulbs. Latimer created the mechanical drawings for Alexander Graham Bell's patent application for his telephone design. In 1884 he joined the Edison Electric Light Company where he conducted research on electrical lighting. He was the only African American member of the Edison Pioneers, the engineering division of the Edison Company. In 1890 he published a technical engineering book, Incandescent Electric Lighting, which became a guide for lighting engineers.
In addition to Latimer, the Lemelson Center commissioned the Brewery Troupe of Freeport, New York to create two additional puppets, Thomas Edison and Frederick Douglass to be part of the program. The Brewery Troupe was founded in 1973 by Brad Brewer, an accomplished puppeteer who trained under Jim Henson and performed puppet shows on TV and stage. The Brewery Troupe's goal is to interpret African American literature, music, and humor through the art of the puppet theater.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Latimer, Lewis
Brewery Troupe, Inc.
transferring agency
Lemelson Center
Brewer, Brad
Brewery Troupe, Inc.
place made
United States: New York, Freeport
Associated Place
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
fabric (overall material)
overall: 114.5 cm x 48.25 cm; 45 1/16 in x 19 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Scientific Instruments
African American
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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