After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Garrett Morgan created a new kind of traffic signal, one with a warning light to alert drivers that they would need to stop. Morgan applied for a patent on his traffic signal in the United States, that was granted on November 20, 1923. He also had his invention patented in Britain and Canada.
Morgan also made national news in 1916 when he used his gas mask to rescue men trapped in a tunnel below Lake Erie. He was granted a patent in 1914 for a Safety Hood & Smoke Protector, and after the rescue his company received requests from fire departments around the country who wanted to purchase the masks. A cool fun fact about his gas mask is that it was later refined for use by the U.S. Army during World War 1.