COOPERMADE: Multi-Angled Mirrors
Inventor, entrepreneur, writer, and civic activist, Samuel R. Scottron ENG’1878 arrived at The Cooper Union in his 30s. Having always wanted to complete his education, which had been cut short when he entered his father’s business, he attended Cooper for the professional training to nurture what he aptly called his “inventive genius.” He had already launched businesses as a sutler providing meals to African American troops during the Civil War, a grocer with branches throughout Florida, and a barber in New England.
It was this last vocation that led to one of Scottron’s many inventions, a multi-angled mirror that allowed customers to see their images from the side and back. After graduating, the ever-creative Scottron also invented what was known as an adjustable window cornice, a frame mounted above a window to hide the curtain rods and hooks. Later, he also had patents on adjustable curtain rods and supporting brackets. He also invented a method for making glass resemble onyx for architectural decorative elements.
Scottron, the great grandfather of legendary singer Lena Horne, was long active in civil rights—particularly voting rights of newly freed citizens— and civic engagement. A long-time resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, he acted as a member of the city’s board of education, its only Black member; co-founded the Cuban Anti-Slavery Society; and did extensive research on African American history in New York.