In 1821, Thomas Jennings became the first African-American to hold a patent. He invented ‘dry scouring’, a method for removing dirt and grease from clothing that would lead to today’s dry cleaning.
The process of dry cleaning was invented in 1821 by an African American business owner named Thomas Jennings. He was one of the first African Americans to be granted a patent. He had to use the proceeds from his invention to buy his wife and children out of slavery.
Ancient Romans used ammonia from urine to wash togas in a manner similar to modern day dry cleaning, and the collection of urine was taxed.