November 20

November 20, 1923 – Garrett Morgan, Patents Traffic Signal

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Garrett Augustus Morgan (December 8, 2011)

On November 20, 1923, inventor and publisher Garrett Augustus Morgan patented the three position traffic signal.  The ingenuity of this signal enabled traffic to do something at intersections other than stop and go forward.  The General Electric Corporation bought the rights for the traffic signal from Morgan for $40,000.   Morgan was one of America’s greatest inventors, also inventing and patented the gas mask.   Several men were rescued on July 25, 1916 when iMorgan was called to help men who were trapped 250 feet underground below Lake Erie after an explosion.  Morgan along with his brother Frank and other volunteers assisting in the rescue while wearing Morgan’s Gas Mask. Morgan received national publicity after this rescue and requests from fire departments around the country for his invention. The U.S. Army used the updated mask during World War I. It was patented by Morgan in 1914 as a Safety Hood and Fire Protector. Morgan made numerous other inventions, but is widely remembered for his life saving inventions of the gas mask and traffic signal. In 1920 he also founded a weekly newspaper in Cleveland named the Cleveland Call. Garrett Augustus Morgan achieved a lot after being born the son of former slaves in Paris, Kentucky on March 4, 1877. He died on August 27, 1963 at the age of 86.