Morgan produced a series of successful inventions in the beginning
of the 20th Century.
Morgan's first well-known invention was the safety hood, a forerunner
of the gas mask. The hood was popularized during a tragic accident
in Cleveland, Ohio. When 32 workers were trapped during a tunnel
collapse under Lake Erie in 1916, rescuers were unable to reach
them because smoke, dust and fumes blocked their way. Morgan and
several volunteers using the masks were able to reach the trapped
men and rescue several survivors.
In 1923, Morgan patented his best-known invention, the three-way
traffic signal. As an early enthusiast of automobiles, Morgan
quickly recognized the need for better traffic control on congested
city streets. His signal was based on signs that signaled stop
and go. He sold his patent rights to General Electric for $40,000,
which developed an electrical version.
Born is Paris, Kentucky, Morgan settled in Cleveland as a young
man. He was an advocate for racial equality, forming one of the
first black fraternities in the country at Cleveland's Western
Reserve University. As a self-educated man he was concerned with
the safety and welfare of his fellow citizens. He was honored
as a pioneering citizen at the Emancipation Centennial Celebration