Garrett A. Morgan
Garrett A. Morgan

Contributions: the gas mask and traffic light

                   Garrett Augustus Morgan was born in Paris, Kentucky on March 4, 1877.  Garrett Morgan received a great reputation for his outstanding contributions to public safety like providing firefighters with gas mask and safety helmets in many cities in the early 1900's. In 1916, Mr. Morgan used his own mask design to rescue men trapped by a gas explosion in a tunnel being constructed under Lake Erie. He was awarded a gold medal at the Second International Exposition of Safety and Sanitation in New York in 1914. The gas mask Morgan invented in 1912 was during World War I to protect soldiers from chlorine gas fumes.  Following disaster, which killed twenty-one people, the City of Cleveland, Ohio honored Garrett Morgan with a gold medal for his heroic efforts.

                   Another one of Garrett Morgan's inventions was the traffic light which was a sign that was systematically raised and lowered at intersections to bring order out of the chaos of regulating pedestrian and vehicle traffic on city streets. In years that followed his invention, after he sold his invention to the General Electric Company for $40,000, he received patents in England and Canada for similar signal devices. Morgan's invention were eventually replaced with the light signal devices used today. Garrett Morgan also invented the first hair straightener and marketed the preparation under the name G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Cream.

Awards and Medals

               He received Carnegie Medal and a Medal for Bravery from the City of Erie for his bravery in the Lake Erie disaster 1916.  First grand prize at the 2nd International Exposition of Safety and Sanitation 1914, for his invention of a gas mask. Founded the Cleveland Call 1920. Cited by the U.S. Government for inventing the first traffic signal 1963

 Researched by Michael Washington
 Source:  Faces of Science ( )