LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s Tech Tuesday and in honor of Black History month, we’re honoring inventor Garret Morgan. One of the Black inventor’s creations has shaped the way people navigate the roads.
Garret Morgan’s parents were former slaves and he had little education, but in 1923 he received the patent for the three signal traffic light.
This wasn’t Morgan’s first invention or success according to History.com. Thanks to his previous ideas, he was the first black person in Cleveland, Ohio to own a car.
Behind the wheel, he saw severe car crashes at an intersection in the city and because of this, one History article about Morgan’s invention said he decided to add a warning light to let drivers know they would soon have to stop.
Also in the History article, it said by adding a third option besides “stop” and “go,” this regulated crossing vehicles more safely than earlier signals. These signals just switched back and forth between stop and go and drivers had no time to react during the change.
The older signals led to many collisions where people both had the right of way when they entered the intersection, but Morgan’s invention allowed people to travel more safely.
Morgan later sold the rights to his invention to General Electric for $40,000.