Alice H. Parker is an African American inventor known for her contribution to the heating furnace. She invented a furnace that supplied central heating for entire homes and buildings.  In the early years of the 20th century, natural gas was used for industrial heating but no one at the time considered using it as a form of heat for homes and businesses.  Homes were still heated by fireplaces. Alice was tired of having to chop wood to heat her home in the brutally cold New Jersey winters. She came up with the idea of using a single source of heat to provide warmth through air pipes to a home. Her invention has helped provide centralized heating to millions of homes and buildings worldwide. She filed the patent for the heating furnace in 1919. The amazing part is that at that time both women and African Americans faced many challenges in most aspects of their daily lives and receiving a patent for this as an African American women is and was truly outstanding.