Hall of Fame



Mr. Garrett A. Morgan


Mr. Garrett A. Morgan was born on 4 March 1877. His parents were former slaves and he worked with his 10 other siblings on the family farm. At the age of 14, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio to seek employment and later became a successful businessman and inventor.


Mr. Morgan’s first patented invention was for a safety hood. This later became known as the Morgan Gas Mask. When a tunnel being constructed under Lake Erie collapsed, he put the mask to the test. Risking injury to himself, he led a rescue team into the collapsed tunnel, pulling suffocating workers and rescuers to safety. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Bravery and the Gold Medal for Bravery from the City of Cleveland for his actions.


Mr. Morgan also designed the first three-way traffic signal. It was a T-shaped pole unit featuring three hand cranked positions: stop, go and an all-directional stop position. Its advantage over other types of traffic signals was the ability to operate it from a distance using a mechanical linkage.


In addition to several other awards given to him for his numerous inventions, the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program and the Garrett A. Morgan Cleveland School of Science were established in his honor.


Mr. Morgan died 27 August 1963.