He was the first African American mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War.
Born to free African-Americans in 1856, Woods became known as “#Black Edison.”
Woods invented 15 new technologies for electric railways, including the troller, the grooved wheel that allowed streetcars (later known as trolley cards) to pick up power from overhead lines. He also invented the “third rail” power pickup currently used by many electric transit systems.
Woods was successful in selling many of his inventions to General Electric, Westinghouse and Bell Telephone.