Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask in 1912, (U.S. patent 1,113,675 issued in 1914). His mask was used during World War I to protect soldiers from chlorine gas fumes.
Morgan lived in Cleveland, Ohio when he was granted U.S. patent # 1,475,024 on November 20, 1923 for the three-way traffic signal. He patented a three-armed signal mounted on a T-shaped pole that indicated "stop" and "go" for traffic in two directions.
Morgan also had another signal for stopping traffic in all directions before the stop and go signals changed. This is similar to today's yellow light.
General Electric bought Morgan's patent for $40,000, and his traffic management device was used throughout North America until it was replaced by the red, yellow and green-light traffic signals currently used around the world.
Discover more about other African American inventors.