16. Garrett Morgan (1877–1963)

Notable inventions: Three-way traffic signal, hair straightener

After witnessing a traffic collision, Morgan decided to build a non-electric three-way traffic signal that featured Stop, Go, and all-directional stop positions. He would create another safety-inspired device, the gas mask, which he used to save 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel in Lake Erie. The man even invented the first human-hair straighetner and sold it under the name G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Cream.