Lyda Newman, an African-American inventor and women’s rights activist, was born in Ohio circa 1885. She got a patent for an improved hairbrush while working as a hairdresser. Newman petitioned for a patent for a novel hairbrush design in the United States in 1898. On November 15, 1898, she acquired the patent.

Lyda Newman’s modifications to the hairbrush made her an essential contributor to its evolution, even though she was not the original creator. For example, Newman’s brush was the first to use synthetic bristles, while other brushes used animal hair, such as boar’s hair. On the other hand, Newman’s brush featured a few other distinctive features.

Lyda Newman’s hairbrush, for example, was created to enhance airflow while also storing extra hair or pollutants. Impurities extracted from the scalp or hair would travel through the brush’s apertures or slots and into a recess in the rear with Newman’s ingenious brush. Then, the contaminants could be emptied by removing the holder and dumping or blowing the impurities out of the brush. The bristles were also easily accessible, allowing the user to clean them as needed.

In addition to her groundbreaking invention, Lyda was also a known Women’s Rights activist. Newman’s suffrage campaign was reported in local newspapers in 1915. She was one of the organizers of the Woman Suffrage Party’s African-American branch, which was campaigning for women’s legal voting rights. Newman canvassed her area to increase awareness of the cause and organized suffrage meetings in her voting district on behalf of her fellow African-American women in New York. The Woman Suffrage Party, which included prominent white suffragists, collaborated with Newman’s party in the hopes of granting voting rights to all of New York’s female residents.