Garrett Augustus Morgan
of Paris, Kentucky, has the credit of inventing respiratory protective hood which is similar to gas masks. There is a story behind his invention. On July 25, 1916, 32 men were trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie. Garrett Morgan used his gas mask to rescue them. After the rescue, Morgan's company received requests from fire departments around the country who wished to purchase the new masks.
The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by U.S. Army during World War I. In 1914, Garrett Morgan was awarded a patent for a Safety Hood and Smoke Protector. Two years later, a refined model of his early gas mask won a gold medal at the International Exposition of Sanitation and Safety, and another gold medal from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.