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Otis Boykin was born on August 29, 1920, in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Fisk College in 1941 and took a job with the Majestic Radio and TV Corporation. He later worked at P. J. Nilsen Research Laboratories. He began to invent products on his own, with some of his noteworthy inventions including a wire precision resistor used in televisions and radios and a control unit for the pacemaker. He died in 1982 of heart failure.
Inventor Otis Boykin was born on August 29, 1920, in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from high school, he attended Fisk College in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating in 1941.
That same year, he took a job as a lab assistant with the Majestic Radio and TV Corporation in Chicago, Illinois. He rose in the ranks, ultimately serving as a supervisor. He eventually took a position with the P.J. Nilsen Research Laboratories while trying to start his own business, Boykin-Fruth Incorporated. At the same time, he decided to continue his education, pursuing graduate studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. He was forced to drop out in 1947, after only two years of education, because he was unable to afford tuition.
Boykin, who took a special interest in working with resistors, began researching and inventing on his own. He sought and received a patent for a wire precision resistor on June 16, 1959. This resistor would later be used in radios and televisions. Two years later, he created a breakthrough device that could withstand extreme changes in temperature and pressure. The device, which was cheaper and more reliable than others on the market, came in great demand by the United States military for guided missles and IBM for computers.
In 1964, Boykin moved to Paris, creating electronic innovations for a new market of customers. His most famous invention was a control unit for the pacemaker. Ironically, Boykin died in Chicago in 1982 as a result of heart failure. Upon his death, he had 26 patents to his name.
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They are among history's most revered black inventors, known for their relentless inquisition, passionate research, impeccable design and, most importantly, their desire to push the envelope. Some of the world's greatest technological and social advancements, including the modern-day gas mask, light bulb and traffic light, owe their origins to black inventors. Did you know that George Washington Carver developed more than 100 products using peanuts? Or that Madam C.J. Walker was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire? Learn more about these inventors, as well as Lonnie G. Johnson, Garrett Morgan, Patricia Bath, Percy Julian and more, at Biography.com.
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When it comes to famous black scientists, George Washington Carver, Mae C. Jemison, and Neil deGrasse Tyson probably come to mind. But do you know about Otis Boykin and how he's helped old hearts beat a little better? And how about Garrett Morgan, whose inventions have kept hair straighter, clothes fitter and traffic more efficient? Get more on these famous black scientists and more, only at Biography.com.
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