As I sat at the keyboard last week, I was trying to think of a topic to write about for this weeks column. It came to my mind that there are a number of things that have been invented over the years that we couldnt (or think we couldnt) do without. I shudder to think how we would get along without some of the basic devices we use today. Of course some of the items I will mention in this and future columns may have run their course and are no longer of as much importance as they once were, but in their time were of great importance.
I want to start off with a device that use to be a concern for citizens of Mountain City and many other small and large towns across the nation: the parking meter. While there are no parking meters in Mountain City now, I remember when they were lined up along Main Street and Church Street. Parking in the daytime was no problem but at night (especially Saturday night) it was hard to find a parking space when farmers and their families came to town to catch up on local news and buy groceries and supplies for the following week. Ergo the parking meter was invented.
The first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935. Carl C. Magee invented it and later patented it. The installation of the devices cut down on parking congestion in towns and cities across the country.
Another interesting device is the traffic signal. The first traffic signal with the caution signal (the yellow light today) was invented by an African-American man by the name of Garrett Morgan. The signal Morgan patented was a T-shaped pole with three settings. The signal at half-mast warned drivers to proceed carefully through the intersection. He reportedly sold his invention to General Electric for $40,000. Morgan was also a very successful newspaperman, having founded the Cleveland Call in 1920. He was born in Paris, Kentucky in 1877. He died on August 7, 1963 at the age of 86.
Oh. How could we do without the telephone? There was a time when in this area mostly residences of Mountain City could have telephone service. So who would have thought that people would be carrying around their own personal telephone?
Some of those phones have the ability to do amazing things. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone and also work on the phonograph. He was also a teacher of the deaf. Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died on August 2, 1922, in Beinn Bhreagh, Canada. Perhaps Bell is remembered most because of his invention of the telephone.