Events Set for Lewis Latimer’s 173rd Birthday Commemoration

Well-known Chelsea brothers Ronald Robinson and Leo Robinson have been promoting the extraordinary work of Black American inventor and scientist Lewis Howard Latimer in the city for more than 20 years.

Mr. Latimer was born in Chelsea on Sept. 4, 1848.

The Robinsons, who founded the Latimer Society in 1998, have decided to honor Mr. Latimer on the 173rd anniversary of his birthday with a series of event.

Leo Robinson and Ronald Robinson, co-directors of the Lewis Latimer Society, have planned a series of events this month to honor the esteemed inventor and scientist on the anniversary of his 173rd birthday. Mr. Latimer, who collaborated with Thomas Edison on many projects, was born in Chelsea in 1848.

The Robinson-led schedule will begin today with a special Thomas Edison-Lewis Latimer light-bulb exhibit at Gallery 456, located at 456 Broadway, Chelsea.

Another major event on the schedule will be an outdoor exhibit at Port Park on Marginal Street.

“Our activities are based on the life of Lewis Latimer, where he lived in Chelsea, and information about his work for a number of years with Thomas Edison in Edison’s legal department defending his patents,” said Ronald. “He [Latimer] was also an original member and the only Black American member of the Edison Pioneers.”

The Latimer Society has drawn plaudits for its annual science festival at Port Park. Unfortunately, the event had be rescheduled last year to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But prior to the pandemic, Leo Robinson visited the Mary C. Burke Complex and delivered a presentation to 622 elementary school students about the life and works of Lewis Latimer.

“I was able to display some of artifacts and give a personal history of his life,” said Leo.

The Robinsons’ first-ever kickoff event, “The Life and Works of Lewis Latimer – Chelsea Inventor and Pioneer”, was held on Sept. 19, 1998 at the Chelsea Public Library, which remains the headquarters for the Lewis Latimer Society.

Since that time, the Latimer Society has donated thousands of dollars to local causes, most recently a $5,000 donation to the Chelsea schools for the purchase of notebooks, backpacks, and other school supplies.

“Our focus for educational programs about Lewis Latimer is the Chelsea public schools and the community-at-large,” said Ron.

The Latimer Society has received strong support from local businesses and organizations including sponsors Eastern Salt Co. and Chelsea Cultural Council. Ronald and Leo Robinson are also members of the American Association of Local History, a national organization that has provided resources to the Latimer Society.

The Lewis Latimer Exhibit will continue at 456 Gallery through Sept. 30. (For further information, please call 781-426-5382 or visit

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