Garrett Augustus Morgan's Contributions

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Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963) was an American inventor. His most notable inventions included a type of protective respiratory hood (or gas mask), a traffic signal, and a hair-straightening preparation. He is renowned for a heroic rescue in 1917 at Lake Erie in which he used his hood to save workers trapped in a tunnel system filled with fumes, after other rescue attempts had failed. He is credited as the first African American in Cleveland, Ohio, to own an automobile. Born in Paris, Kentucky to Sydney, a former slave and son of Confederate Col. John H. Morgan and Eliza Reed, also a former slave, Morgan moved at the age of fourteen to Cincinnati, Ohio in search of employment. Most of his teenage years were spent working as a handyman for a wealthy Cincinnati landowner. Like many African Americans of his day, he had to quit school at a young age in order to work. However, the teen-aged Morgan was able to hire his own tutor and continued his studies while living in Cincinnati. In 1895, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked repairing sewing machines for a clothing manufacturer. In 1916 he helped to found the Cleveland Call newspaper, and subsequently participated in a 1928 merger that created the Call and Post newspaper. He married his first wife, Madge Nelson, in 1896, but that marriage ended in divorce. Word of his skill at fixing things and experimenting spread quickly throughout Cleveland, opening up various opportunities for him. On July 25, 1916, Garrett Morgan made national news for using his gas mask to rescue 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie. Morgan and a team of volunteers donned the new "gas masks" and went to the rescue. After the rescue, Morgan's company received requests from fire departments around the country who wished to purchase the new masks. The Morgan gas

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