Who Was Lawrence P. Ray?

Lawrence P. Ray, also known as Lloyd Ray, was an African-American inventor who received a patent for an improved dust pan. The dustpan was designed for use in commercial and industrial settings.

The inventor received a patent for the modified dust pan on Aug. 3, 1897. The original design of the dust pan required the user to crouch down and use a handheld brush to sweep up debris. In Ray’s new design, a long stick is inserted in the back of the pan to allow the holder to sweep while standing. This allows for speedier cleaning and reduced potential strain on the user.