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How Garrett Morgan saved Millions of Lives

Mollybdamned American Atheist 2008/12/01 04:59:49
How interesting, I didn't know that.
Some people just have good ideas.
Huh, I never gave it a thought.
You!
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The person responsible for the stoplight is Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr., an African-American, who was born in Paris, Kentucky, on March 4, 1877, to Sidney and Elizabeth (Reed) Morgan. Elizabeth Morgan had been a slave freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. She and Sidney had eleven children. Garrett Morgan was the seventh.


He spent his early childhood working on the family farm with his sisters and brothers, while attending school. At the early age of 14, he left Kentucky and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in search of employment. His education never went beyond elementary school, so he decided to hire a tutor while living in Cincinnati where he worked as a handyman for a wealthy landowner. He wanted to continue his studies in English grammar. Morgan moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1895 working for a clothing manufacturer as a sewing machine repairman. During his employment as a repairman, he invented a belt fastener for the sewing machine.



He truly became a businessman in 1907 with the opening of his own sewing equipment and repair shop. He included a tailoring shop in 1909 that employed 32 employees. Morgan’s new company began to put on the market coats, suits, and dresses. These clothes were made with the equipment that Morgan himself had made.


Morgan established the Cleveland Call newspaper (later named the Call & Post), in 1920. Soon he became a well-known profitable businessman, and purchased a home and an automobile. As you can guess, his experience driving gave him the idea of a traffic signal.


Garrett Morgan’s Traffic Signal

As history will tell you the first American-made automobile was introduced by the Ford Motor Company in 1903. It did not take long before the American consumer discovered the freedom of the open road.


In the beginning of the 20th century, the roads were shared with bicycles, animal-powered wagons, and the new motor vehicles. Of course, the roads and streets were also shared with pedestrians. With this scenario, accidents were frequent. Morgan witnessed accidents between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage. This was the beginning of the idea of the electric traffic light signal.


A patent was granted to Morgan on November 20, 1923 for the traffic signal to regulate vehicle movement. In order to regulate the pedestrian and vehicle traffic on city streets, the GO and STOP signs were raised and lowered at intersections. His traffic light was a T-shaped pole that had three positions: Stop, Go, and the third position allowed pedestrians to cross the street or road more safely. The reason for the third position was to halt traffic in all directions. As you know, this light was replaced with the red, yellow, and green light signals.


Years later, this invention was sold to General Electric for $40,000. Signal devices similar to the traffic light were also patented for England and Canada. Before his death, the United States Government awarded him a citation for his traffic signal. Garrett Augustus Morgan died on July 27, 1963, at the age of 86. He had given the world a legacy and a lasting impression.


The Department of Transportation (DOT) program is the outcome of Garrett Morgan’s inspiration. This program encourages students to consider transportation careers. Cleveland, Ohio was chosen as the site where the program was introduced. Morgan resided in this area for a lengthy period of time. He became an entrepreneur after overcoming poverty and lack of formal education.


The following information is taken from an article entitled, “The Garrett A. Morgan Program: Shaping the Future of Transportation”, by S. Lawrence Paulson.
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Top Opinion

  • emsawyer 2008/12/01 05:06:03
    How interesting, I didn't know that.
    emsawyer
    +2
    Here is a perfect example of my theory that people of limited circumstances and means can better themselves and rise above their limited circumstances to become very productive, worthwhile contributors to society. Thanks for sharing this. I love stories like this. It's great inspiration for everyone everywhere.

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  • tina 2009/03/16 23:00:18
    Some people just have good ideas.
    tina
    +1
    he he would have stayed in Africa--he would not have beeb given the opportunity
  • Jincks013 the Liberal Veteran 2008/12/03 12:05:35 (edited)
    How interesting, I didn't know that.
    Jincks013  the Liberal Veteran
    +1
    Right on.. now can we speed the damn things up?
    I can admire anyone who uses their brains in a constructive way but this man has saved millions of lives and billions of dollar in damage.
  • Pat 2008/12/01 13:55:40
    All of the above
    Pat
    +1
    That was really fascinating. I intend to follow all of your questions now that know that I will actually be learning something. Thank you very much for posting this.
  • Mollybd... Pat 2008/12/02 03:25:45
    Mollybdamned American Atheist
    +5
    Hi Phent, thanks so much. I enjoy posting 'real history' when I can find it. I thrive on this stuff. :)
  • driley 2008/12/01 05:09:26
    How interesting, I didn't know that.
    driley
    +1
    This has been a good night for learning new things. Thank you for this post. I never thought about who invented the traffic light.
  • Mollybd... driley 2008/12/01 05:11:45
    Mollybdamned American Atheist
    +4
    Hi driley, Thanks it is one of those 'things' that until I heard about it I never gave it a thought.
  • emsawyer 2008/12/01 05:06:03
    How interesting, I didn't know that.
    emsawyer
    +2
    Here is a perfect example of my theory that people of limited circumstances and means can better themselves and rise above their limited circumstances to become very productive, worthwhile contributors to society. Thanks for sharing this. I love stories like this. It's great inspiration for everyone everywhere.
  • Mollybd... emsawyer 2008/12/01 05:07:12
    Mollybdamned American Atheist
    +5
    Hi there, I thought so as well. And thanks for coming to the poll :)
  • moomoof 2008/12/01 05:03:04
    Undecided
    moomoof
    +1
    i knew that

    i remember reading that a black man invented the blood transfusion and he in the end was denied it xD that was sick i was like in class in front of my teacher what the fuck

    everyone stared xD
  • Mollybd... moomoof 2008/12/01 05:06:15
    Mollybdamned American Atheist
    +5
    Hi Moonoof, Hey there, he was next on my list. :)
  • moomoof Mollybd... 2008/12/01 05:08:33
    moomoof
    +1
    lol cool
    he stuck out in my mind for some reason
  • emsawyer Mollybd... 2008/12/01 05:09:42
    emsawyer
    +2
    Make sure you invite me to the next one on your list!!
  • Mollybd... emsawyer 2008/12/01 05:12:21
    Mollybdamned American Atheist
    +4
    Hi emsawyer, I will add you as a SH if you are not there already.

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