Black History Month: Garrett Morgan

11 02 2011

For Black History Month, we are honoring an African American who invented important technology we use today.

Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan is the inventor of the gas mask that firefighters use today and the inventor of the traffic light. Here is Garrett Morgan’s story.

He was born on March 4, 1877. He lived most of his life in the state of Ohio where he created many businesses on his own. He had his own shoe repair shop and a sewing machine shop. Later, he expanded his business and created a tailoring shop for clothes. He later invented the traffic light, the gas mask and a cream to straighten hair. Morgan Garrett was given an award by the United States government for his traffic signal invention.

His accomplishments in technology have helped provide safety to many people today. To commemorate Garrett Morgan, you can make your own traffic signal at home!


  • two empty, rectangular tissue boxes
  • red, green and yellow tissue paper or cellophane
  • black construction paper
  • scissors
  • one paper towel roll
  • a pencil
  • an object to trace perfect circle (a stencil, a glass, a jar, etc.)
  • glue
  • a flashlight


First, you will need to cut the top of the tissue box off. Then,  you will cover the rest of the box with the black construction paper.

After you have glued the construction paper down and let it dry, trace three circles on the bottom of the box. Cut these circles out with your scissors. Glue the tissue paper or cellophane inside of the box covering the open holes. Remember that red is on top, green is on bottom, and yellow is in the middle!

Next, take the paper towel roll and cut two slits (about 1 to 2 inches) on the top. Bend back the roll and glue it to the side of the tissue box. Make sure it’s the side closest to the green light. Repeat that step at the bottom the roll. You will then glue it to the second tissue box.

You can cover the roll and the second tissue box with black construction paper to make it look even more like a real traffic signal. The bottom box may have to be weighed down depending on how heavy the top is.

Here at The Austin Children's Museum, we used a black shoe box instead of a tissue box.

Now that you are done, take your flashlight and illuminate the different colors to complete your traffic light! Feel free to invite your friends over to play fun traffic light games!




3 responses

17 01 2012

please leave more detial on garrett morgan like his schooling and his inttrest….people would like to know more stuff!!

17 01 2012

you need more stuff :/

17 01 2012


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: