John Lee Love was an African-American inventor who is most known for inventing the portable pencil sharpener. Though the pencil sharpener was his most successful invention, Love also created other inventions.
According to Biography, not much is known about the early life of Love. He was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, and worked as a carpenter there. In 1895, Love patented and improved the plasterer's hawk. The invention used a detachable handle and an aluminum board. In 1897, Love patented the portable pencil sharpener called the Love Sharpener. The device created an opening to place the pencil inside, and then the pencil would be rotated by hand. Love noted that his new sharpener could be used as a paperweight or ornament. The design of the new sharpener included a compartment that held the pencil shavings and a hand crank. The same sharpener is a device that has continuously been in use since it was invented. According to About.com, the Love Sharpener is the same type of portable sharpener being used in schools and by artists.
It has been reported that Love hired lawyers from both New York and Boston to represent him while he was applying for his two patents. In 1931, Love died from a train and car collision in North Carolina.