This Day in Patent History - On November 20, 1923, a patent was granted to Garrett Morgan for a traffic signal

On November 20, 1923, a patent was granted to Garrett Morgan for a traffic signal. He is one of the first inventors of traffic signals that are found all across the world today.
















Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963) was an African-American inventor and community leader.

The first American-made automobiles were introduced to consumers just before the turn of the 20th century, and pedestrians, bicycles, animal-drawn wagons and motor vehicles all had to share the same roads. To deal with the growing problem of traffic accidents, a number of versions of traffic signaling devices began to be developed, starting around 1913.

Morgan had witnessed a serious accident at an intersection, and he filed a patent for traffic control device in 1922.

In 1923, the U.S. Patent Office granted Patent No. 1,475,074 to Garrett Morgan for his three-position traffic signal. Though Morgan’s was not the first traffic signal (that one had been installed in London in 1868), it was an important innovation nonetheless: By having a third position besides just “Stop” and “Go,” it regulated crossing vehicles more safely than earlier signals had.


Patent Information
Publication number: US1475024 A
Patent Title: Traffic signal
Publication type: Grant
Publication date: Nov 20, 1923
Filing date: Feb 27, 1922
Priority date: Feb 27, 1922
Inventors: Morgan Garrett A
Original Assignee: Morgan Garrett A


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