Remembering Wringing Mop Inventor This Black History Month

African American Thomas W. Stewart patented the mop in 1893.

February 6, 2024

In the United States and many other countries, the month of February is officially observed as Black History Month. As President Gerald R. Ford said when the U.S. event was nationally recognized in 1976, the month represents “the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

Black History Month is also a chance to recognize a specific individual who made a significant impact on the cleaning industry: Thomas W. Stewart, the inventor of the wringing mop.

Wringing mops use a clamping device to squeeze and wring water out of a mop head.

According to education content website ThoughtCo., Stewart, who lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, patented the design for his wringing mop on June 11, 1893, making him one of the first African Americans to have been awarded a patent.

He later came up with additional improvements on his initial model, including the ability to unscrew the mop head from the handle, as well as a lever that could help prevent users from getting their hands wet while wringing the mop.

For ideas on how to celebrate and promote Black History Month at your business or facility, check out Three Ideas for Promoting Black History Month.

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