Profile: Sarah Boone (1832-1904)

Sarah Boone  was an American inventor who on April 26, 1892, obtained United States patent rights for her improvements to the ironing board. Boone’s ironing board was designed to improve the quality of ironing sleeves and the bodies of women’s garments. The board was very narrow, curved, and made of wood. The shape and structure allowed it to fit a sleeve and it was reversible, so one could iron both sides of the sleeve.  Along with Miriam Benjamin, Ellen Eglin, and Sarah Goode, Boone was one of four African American women inventors of her time who developed new technology for the home.

Sarah Marshall was born in Craven County, North Carolina, near the town of New Bern, on January 1, 1832.  She was formerly enslaved which was brutal.  On November 25, 1847, she married James Boone (or Boon) in New Bern;  they had eight children.

The Boone family left North Carolina for New Haven, Connecticut, before the outbreak of the American Civil War; they settled into a house at 30 Winter Street.  Sarah Boone worked as a dressmaker.

Sarah Marshall Boone died in 1904 and is buried in a family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven.

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