Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

Sign up for Emails

Sign up now to receive an email alert for the Focus On feature!

GO

Privacy Policy

Previous Features

PHOTO ESSAY

African Americans in Science and Technology

Back Arrow Previous

Photo 6 of 10

Next Next Arrow
Garrett A. Morgan rescuing a man at the Lake Erie Crib Disaster, 1916.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In 1914, while living in Cleveland, Ohio, inventor Garrett Morgan patented a new safety device to be used by firefighters. His “Safety Hood” was comprised of a protective helmet that covered the head and an apparatus that allowed the user a few moments of breathable air. At the turn of the century, Cleveland was conducting major efforts to create a waterway from the Erie Canal to the city. The construction of the tunnels was quite dangerous and over fifty workers died during the construction of the various waterways. When one of the tunnels collapsed on July 24, 1916, the Cleveland police department called in Morgan. He and his brother Frank entered the tunnel and, aided by the Safety Hood, were able to rescue two people and recover the bodies of several others. Morgan is shown above rescuing one of the workers; his device is visible on his back. As a result of his heroism and ingenuity, Morgan was awarded a contract with the U.S. Navy. He eventually reworked his safety hood into the gas mask, which was used extensively in World War I.

Back Arrow Previous

Photo 6 of 10

Next Next Arrow