Thursday, February 9, 2012

ECBC Celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is hosting a special blog series featuring historical facts and insights of notable African American inventors and ECBC personnel. We invite you to follow the series this February here on the Center’s official blog site. The first installation of this series features African American inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan, who created a safety hood used in World War I.

Before the establishment of ECBC, then Edgewood Arsenal, in 1917, African American inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan created a safety hood that would be the precursor to the gas masks created at the Center.

Though Morgan only had a sixth-grade education, he went on to invent several products that are used even today, including mechanical traffic signals. His most significant invention, however, was the safety hood. In 1914, Morgan patented his mask, which was a hood with two tubes. Part of the device, which was held on the back, filtered smoke outward while cooling the air inside. The safety hood won accolades and wide adoption in the North. Over 500 cities bought the hood, as well as to the U.S. Navy and Army in World War I.

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