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The Morgan
The Morgan

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Inspired by Garrett Morgan

Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963) was an African American inventor and community leader. In 1901, Morgan developed his first invention, a belt fastener for sewing machines, and he sold it for $150. In 1914, he won the First Grand Prize gold medal at the Second International Exposition of Sanitation and Safety for his breathing helmet and smoke protector (prototype of the gas mask). His most well-known inventions included a type of protective respiratory hood (or gas mask), a traffic signal, and a hair-straightening preparation. He is famous for a heroic rescue in 1916. He and three others used his safety hood device to save workers trapped in a water intake tunnel being dug under Lake Erie after a natural gas explosion and fire, which took the lives of workers and the first police officers and firefighters who attempted to rescue them. In 1923, Morgan created an automatic stop sign to aid the movement of traffic. He sold the rights to this invention to General Electric for $40,000. He is also credited as the first African American in Cleveland, Ohio, to own an automobile.