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Commissioners Commemorate the Life & Work of Granville T. Woods

Date: 4-24-2008
For More Info. Contact:
Hanna M. Greer, (614) 525-5848
Tiana Rollinson, (614) 525-6630

Left to right: Rickenbacker-Woods Inc., President Lisa Chambers, Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, Commission President Marilyn Brown, Rickenbacker-Woods Inc., Executive Director Aaron Riley.

Yesterday, Franklin County Commissioners and Rickenbacker-Woods, Inc., along with community leaders celebrated the birthday and accomplishments of the prolific early 20th century African-American inventor and Columbus native, Granville T. Woods by declaring April 23rd, as Granville T. Woods Day in Franklin County.

Last month, Commissioners approved a community partnership for $50,000 with Rickenbacker-Woods, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to improving life through projects and initiatives honoring the accomplishments and spirit of Eddie Rickenbacker and Granville T. Woods.

“Granville T .Woods held more than 60 patents and I think it would be fair to say that he has impacted all of our lives – whether we realize it or not,” said Commission President Marilyn Brown. “It is wonderful that we are celebrating a local hero and that another generation of people will learn about this brilliant person.”

Granville T. Woods dedicated his life to developing a variety of inventions which helped to improve the railroad industry. In fact, Woods invented more than a dozen devices to enhance electric railway cars as well as others to control the flow of electricity. His most noted invention was the Induction Telegraph – a system for letting the engineer of a train know how close his train was to others. This device helped cut down accidents and collisions. In his life time, Woods’ developed over 60 patents in the United States.

“Granville T. Woods was one of our country’s most prolific and accomplished inventors with more patents than Edison. Without him we might not have inventions like the steam boiler furnace, telegraph system, electric railway or even the rollercoaster,” said Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy. “We need to encourage today’s inventors. We could have the next Granville T. Woods in our schools right now.”

“We are honoring the fortitude of Granville T. Woods as Franklin County’s own trailblazer in history,” said Commissioner Paula Brooks. “The contributions made by Granville T. Woods are to be celebrated and I want to thank Rickenbacker- Woods, Inc. for their diligent work assuring Mr. Woods’ legacy is sustained for ALL of Franklin County to celebrate!”

“Rickenbacker-Woods Inc. is humbled that the Commissioners honored Granville T. Woods on his birthday,” said Executive Director of Rickenbacker -Woods Inc., Aaron Riley. “We have orchestrated the first of what we hope to be many annual Granville T. Woods’ Days in Franklin County.”

Commissioners held a small program and served cake and punch in honor of Granville T. Woods’ birthday to community members.