Marjorie Stewart Joyner born in 1896 in Virginia was the granddaughter of a slave and a slave owner. When she reached the age of 16 she decided to pursue a career in cosmetology and became the first black woman to graduate from the beauty school, A.B. Molar Beauty School.
At the age of 20, Marjorie decided to follow the entrepreneurial path by opening a beauty salon. From there, she was introduced to another beauty entrepreneur, the well-known Madam C.J. Walker who owned a large number of beauty businesses across the United States. Following Madam C.J. Walker death in 1919, Marjorie was left in charge of the entrepreneur’s companies.
One thing that Marjorie noticed with black women’s hair is that it was a struggle to straighten their curly hair as there were only limited options available. Straightening curly hair was a really long process since women had to use a stove-heated curling iron and use it one section of hair at a time. Madam Joyner decided to solve this problem by creating the “Permanent Waving Machine”, a machine which enabled women to get straight hair for days but also defined curls.
Her invention allowed to set women’s entire head at the same time. In 1926, Marjorie won a patent for her creation and became the first African-American woman to receive a patent for an invention.
Photo(s) source(s): inventors.about.com