Born in Alabama in 1849, Andrew Beard spent the first fifteen years of his life as a slave on a small farm in Alabama. A year after he was emancipated, he got married and became a farmer in a small city outside of Birmingham. While in Birmingham, he was able to develop and champion his first invention (a plow). Three years later, he patented a second plow. These two inventions earned him almost $10,000, with which he began to invest in real estate. Following his stint in real-estate, Andrew Beard began to work with and study engines. In 1892, he filed a patent for an improvement to the rotary steam engine. In 1897, Andrew Beard patented an improvement to railroad car couplers commonly called the Jenny Coupler. It did the dangerous job of hooking railroad cars together, Beard, himself had lost a leg in a car coupling accident. As an ex-railroad worker, Andrew Beard had the right idea that probably saved countless lives and limbs. Andrew Beard received $50,000 for the patent rights to his Jenny coupler.