Spotlight: George Washington Carver – the real Mr. Peanut

posted in: Famous Inventors, Teachers | 0
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Who was George Washington Carver?gg

If you’ve had peanut butter before, chances are you have heard of George Washington Carver. Although he wasn’t the first to invent peanut butter, (thank the Incas from South America in 950 BC for that) he was the first modern inventor who popularised it.

George Washington Carver, known as the ‘Plant Doctor’, was born in Missouri in 1861. He was a famous African American botanist/inventor who developed new, practical farming methods that used peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes as an alternative to cotton to improve the livelihood of impoverished families.

By 1880, Carver invented not one but three hundred different ways to use peanuts, including plastics, paints, dyes and bio fuel. So why doesn’t anyone have an accurate list of all the things he invented? Well, Carver didn’t believe in patents or fame; he felt it was his duty as an inventor to contribute to society by making knowledge freely available to everyone.

By the early 1900’s, Carver made peanuts a significant crop in the southern USA. His contributions were so vast that commemorative postal stamps in 1948, 1998 as well as half dollar coins minted between 1951 and 1954 were created in his name. Additionally, some schools and even a garden (Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis) were founded on his behalf.

Carver’s greatest contribution wasn’t just peanuts. Instead, he will be remembered for his influence – believing in the life-changing potential of education and the idea that even if you’re born into the most unfortunate circumstances, you can overcome them with a proper education.

 

 

 

Inquiry – Digging Deeper

Ever wonder how peanut butter is made? Check out the video below. Experimenting with different ingredients and observing how they interact with each other is a fun and tasty way to learn about science. Please keep in mind that some people are very allergic to peanuts and should not come in contact with peanuts and peanut products.