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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Life-Saving Invention: The Century-Long Legacy of Garrett Morgan’s Traffic Light


Cleveland – As Sandra ⁤Morgan watches the ⁣changing lights at an intersection, ⁣she feels proud. ⁣The granddaughter of Garrett Morgan, who ​patented the three-position traffic signal 100 years ago, she understands the​ impact of her grandfather’s invention.

For⁢ Sandra, the history and legacy of her family hold a special place in her heart. She⁤ is reminded of the tragic circumstances that ⁣led to her grandfather’s idea, but also the⁤ countless lives it has saved.

Before Garrett Morgan’s‍ invention, traffic⁢ signals⁣ were operated manually, with only two instructions – stop ‍and‍ go.⁣ The​ roads were chaotic, and accidents were commonplace. The lack of an interval between stop and go meant there ‍wasn’t enough ‍time for traffic patterns to adjust, leading to many⁢ fatal crashes.

But Garrett Morgan himself witnessed a‍ devastating accident at a busy intersection in Ohio, which⁣ sparked ⁤his life-saving ⁣idea – add a “caution” ⁤signal in between stop and go.⁤ His three-position traffic signal was granted a patent by the ​U.S. Patent ​Office ‍in 1923, and the caution light we know today was born.

General Motors ‌recognized the value of Morgan’s invention and purchased the ​patent for $40,000. Today,​ there ⁢are over 300,000 signalized intersections across the U.S., all influenced⁢ by Garrett Morgan’s ⁣original ‍design.

Born in Paris, Kentucky, to formerly enslaved parents, Garrett Morgan had a sixth-grade education but always⁤ had a passion for knowledge and invention. ⁢He was a successful businessman,‍ owning a repair and tailor shop, as well as founding a local newspaper for Black residents. Despite facing discrimination, Morgan continued to innovate ⁢and even coined a new nickname for himself – ⁢the “Black Edison.”

One of his other notable inventions was the safety hood, which later evolved into the gas‍ mask. It was used ‍in ⁤a tragic natural gas explosion ‍at Lake‌ Erie in 1916, bringing attention to ​Morgan’s identity as a Black inventor. While some customers canceled orders⁤ for⁢ the safety hood upon ⁤learning its ⁣creator was Black, it was still adopted by fire stations ‌across the country and even used in World ‍War I.

Garrett Morgan’s legacy lives on, and his granddaughter Sandra ensures ⁢it is not forgotten. She has worked hard to include⁢ him‍ in the⁤ curriculum of Ohio’s school system, and he has been ⁢recognized by the National⁣ Inventors Hall​ of Fame.

As ‍traffic⁣ signals continue to evolve, Sandra Morgan⁣ is proud of her grandfather’s lasting impact. “The principles behind it are the same as they have⁤ been for the past 100 years,” she said. “It has saved countless lives.”

Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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