One of the leading inventors of the 19th century and early 20th century, Granville T. Woods patented on April 7, 1885 an apparatus for transmission of messages by using electricity.
Woods was often described as the “Black” Edison. Actually, he won twice in court defending his inventions from claims by Thomas Edison. Woods patented more than 50 inventions including the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph which enabled communications between train stations from moving trains. This system completely changed the operation of the railway system; saving perhaps thousands of lives by allowing trains to communicate with each other while moving on the rails. Woods sold his telegraphony invention which was a system in which a telegraph station could use a single wire to send messages by voice and telegraph to American Bell Telephone Company. He sold many of his inventions to General Electric, American Engineering and Westinghouse. Woods was born on April 23, 1856 in Columbus, Ohio and died on January 30, 1910 in New York City at age 53.