As we approach our celebration of Christmas, and perhaps engage in the time honored tradition of cookie making and decorating, here is something worth knowing and appreciating: “Late in the nineteenth century, J. W. Reed invented the rolling pin with handles connected to a center rod; this is similar to the tool we know today, and it prevents cooks from putting their hands on the rolling surface while shaping pastry. Reed invented new versions of the dough kneader and dough roller; his contributions are notable, not only because he eased the cook’s tasks, but also because Reed was one of many African-Americans who developed and patented improvements to household items.” For more information, see and