African American inventor, businessman, and political figure Garrett Morgan. The traffic signal and the smoke hood are two of the many well-known inventions he produced during his lifetime.
Additionally, he developed a range of hair care items. Morgan, a freed chattel slave, was raised in Claysville, Harrison County, Kentucky, and went to Branch Elementary School. He left school after the sixth grade and relocated to Cincinnati in quest of work.
He started out as a handyman and eventually repaired sewing machines in a factory where he made his first invention, a belt fastening. Morgan was a founding member of the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, an organisation that worked to better the socioeconomic standing of the African American community.
He had three children from two different marriages. Numerous elementary schools were given his after after his passing in 1963. He continues to be regarded as one of the most well-known African Americans to have ever invented.
Garrett Augustus Morgan was born in Claysville, Kentucky, on March 4, 1877. His parents were both former slaves. His father, who was half-Black and half-white, was the son of the Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan, who oversaw Morgan’s Raiders during the Civil War.
His mother was of Native American, Black, and white ancestry (her father was a minister named Rev. Garrett Reed), and he himself was of mixed racial heritage. As the seventh of eleven children, Garrett spent his early years attending school and helping out on the family farm with his siblings. He left Kentucky while still a teenager and relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, in search of opportunities.
Although Morgan never completed his formal education beyond elementary school, he made an effort to educate himself by hiring a tutor while living in Cincinnati and continuing his English grammar studies.
Morgan relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1895 and began working as a sewing machine repairman for a clothing manufacturer. He did this while learning everything he could about sewing machines and conducting experiments.
He worked for numerous manufacturing companies in the Cleveland area after word of his experiments and ability to fix things spread quickly.
The inventor began selling and repairing sewing machines in 1907. It was the first of many companies he would start. He expanded the business in 1909 to add a tailoring shop with 32 employees. Coats, suits, and dresses were all produced by the new business using tools that Morgan had built himself.
Morgan lost the majority of his wealth in the stock market crash along with many others, but it didn’t stop him from being creative. Despite having glaucoma, he was still developing a new innovation at the time of his passing: a self-extinguishing cigarette.
On August 27, 1963, Morgan passed away at the age of 86. His lengthy and fruitful life was marked by the recognition of his artistic talents both then and now.
The Safety Hood (Early Gas Mask) Invention
Morgan received two patents for the Safety Hood and Smoke Protector, an early gas mask, in 1914. By utilising a marketing tactic known as “anonymity by dissociation,” as described by historian Lisa Cook, he produced the mask and distributed it domestically and abroad via the National Safety Device Company, or Nadsco.
Entrepreneurs at the time marketed their technologies by giving live demonstrations. Morgan pretended to be his own assistant—a Native American named “Big Chief Mason”—in these public appearances with local fire crews and city authorities.
Morgan commissioned white people in the South to create protests for him, sometimes including public safety officials. His newspaper ads showed well-groomed white guys as the models.
The gas mask immediately gained popularity; New York City adopted it, and eventually 500 cities did as well. A more advanced version of Morgan’s gas mask won two gold medals in 1916: one from the International Association of Fire Chiefs and one at the International Exposition of Sanitation and Safety.
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A Heroic Rescuer
In addition to being a famous inventor, Garrett Morgan is also remembered for the valiant rescue effort he led in 1916 to save workmen trapped 250 feet below Lake Erie in a tunnel. He employed his famous smoke hood to rescue them and assisted in recovering the bodies of those who perished.
Morgan was given a diamond-encrusted gold medal later on by certain Cleveland residents, despite the media and city officials ignoring his act of bravery and awarding medals to other men who participated in the rescue instead.
The safety and wellbeing of individuals all across the world, including miners, soldiers, first responders, regular car owners, and pedestrians, have been significantly improved by Morgan’s ideas.
His weekly newspaper, now known as the “Cleveland Call and Post” after it changed its name from the “Cleveland Call,” is another lasting legacy. His accomplishments as the son of former slaves, despite all circumstances, and in the face of prejudice during the Jim Crow era, are motivational.
He received an honorary degree from Case Western University, where his papers are still kept.
African American inventor of the Safety Hood, the first gas mask, and the three-position traffic signal. In 1916, after a natural gas explosion and fire imprisoned workmen in a water intake tunnel being excavated beneath Lake Erie, he and three others performed a daring rescue using their safety hood apparatus.
Garrett Morgan, an inventor, passed away at the age of 86.