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Posté par kengne le 11 Septembre 2007 à 00:33
Garrett A. Morgan

Garrett A. Morgan
Cleveland School of  Science
4016 Woodbine Avenue   Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Cleveland Metropolitan School DistrictPhone:  (216) 281-6188Fax: (216) 634-2113

Garrett A. Morgan
Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. was an  American inventor whose curiosity and innovation  led him to develop several commercial products,  the successors of which are still in use today. A  practical man of humble beginnings, Morgan devoted  his life to creating items that made the lives of  common people safer and more convenient.
The Inventor's Early Life. Garrett A.  Morgan was born in Paris, Kentucky on March 4,  1877. His parents were former slaves. Morgan spent  his early childhood was spent attending school and  working with his brothers and sisters on the  family farm . He left Kentucky while still a  teenager, moving north to Cincinnati, Ohio in  search of employment.

An  industrious youth, Morgan spent most of his  adolescence working as a handyman for a wealthy  Cincinnati landowner. Similar to many African  American of his generation, whose circumstances  compelled them to begin working at an early age,  Morgan's formal education ended after elementary  school, however, the precocious teenager hired a  tutor and continued his studies in English grammar  while living in Cincinnati.

In  1895, Morgan moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he  worked as a sewing machine repair man for a  clothing manufacturer. News of his proficiency for  fixing things and experimenting traveled fast and  led to numerous job offers from various  manufacturing firms in the Cleveland area.
In 1907, Morgan opened his own sewing  equipment and repair shop. It was the first of  several businesses he would establish. In 1909, he  expanded the enterprise to include a tailoring  shop that employed 32 employees. The new company  turned out coats, suits and dresses, all sewn with  equipment that Morgan himself had made.
The Safety Hood and Smoke Protector.   On July 25, 1916, Morgan made national news after  an explosion at the Cleveland Waterworks ripped  through a tunnel, trapping underground workers.   Deadly gases and heavy smoke filled the  underground spaces making it difficult to rescue  the workers. Finally, someone in the crowd  remembered a black man who had won a won a gold  medal at the Second International Exposition of  Sanitation and Safety. Morgan had received a  patent for his gas mask and had begun to sell it,  but when it was discovered that he was black, many  orders were cancelled. However, Morgan continued  to perfect his mask.

After the  rescue, Morgan's company received requests from  fire departments around the country who wished to  purchase the new masks. The Morgan gas mask was  later refined for use by the U.S. Army during  World War I. In 1921, Morgan was awarded a  patent for a Safety Hood and Smoke Protector. Two  years later, a refined model of his early gas mask  won a gold medal at the International Exposition  of Sanitation and Safety, and another gold medal  from the International Association of Fire Chiefs. 

In 1920 Morgan moved into the  newspaper business when he established the  Cleveland Call. As the years went on, he became a  prosperous and widely respected business man, and  he was able to purchase a home and an automobile.  Indeed it was Morgan's experience while driving  along the streets of Cleveland that led to the  invention the nation's first patented traffic  signal.

The Garrett Morgan  Traffic Signal. The first American- made  automobiles were introduced to U.S. consumers  shortly before the turn of the century. The Ford  Motor Company was founded in 1903 and with it  American consumers began to discover the  adventures of the open road.

In  the early years of the 20th century, it was not  uncommon for bicycles, animal-powered wagons and  new gasoline-powered motor vehicles to share the  same streets and roadways with pedestrians.  Accidents were frequent. After witnessing a  collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn  carriage, Morgan was convinced that something  should be done to improve traffic safety.
While other inventors are reported to  have experimented with and even marketed traffic  signals, Garrett A. Morgan was the first to apply  for and acquire a U.S. patent for such a device.  The patent was granted on November 20, 1923.  Morgan later had the technology patented in Great  Britain and Canada as well.

The  Morgan traffic signal was a T-shaped pole unit  that featured three positions: Stop, Go and an  all-directional stop position. This “third  position” halted traffic in all directions to  allow pedestrians to cross streets more safely. 

Morgan's traffic management device  was used throughout North America until it was  replaced by the red, yellow and green-light  traffic signals currently used around the world.  The inventor sold the rights to his traffic signal  to the General Electric Corporation for $40,000.  Shortly before his death, in 1963, Morgan was  awarded a citation for his traffic signal by the  United States Government.

Other  Morgan Inventions. Garrett Morgan was constantly  experimenting to develop new concepts. Though the  traffic signal came at the height of his career  and became one of his most renowned inventions, it  was just one of several innovations he developed,  manufactured and sold over the years.
Morgan invented a zig-zag stitching attachment  for manually operated sewing machine. He also  founded a company that made personal grooming  products, such as hair dying ointments and the  curved-tooth pressing comb.

It is  hard to estimate how many lives were saved by  Morgan's inventions. He received many awards and  citations for his inventions. At the Emancipation  Centinnial Celebration in Chicago, Illinois in  August of 1963, Morgan was nationally recognized.   Morgan did not attend.

Garrett A.  Morgan died on August 27, 1963, at the age of 86.  His life was long and full, and his creative  energies have given us a marvelous and lasting  legacy.

All Eyes On It.Prod
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