Garrett Morgan invented a safety hood—a precursor to the gas mask—for firemen. But until a gas explosion trapped miners underground in 1916, the hoods sold poorly. Why? Because Morgan was black. List of sources of inspiration. Full-color illustrations rendered in pen and ink with watercolor.
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School Library Journal
Repairmen whose “great ideas” were born of necessity are the subjects of the newest additions to this biography series. In the 1920s, Frank Zamboni opened a skating rink and needed to speed up the 90-minute task of resurfacing the ice to make it smooth. Clean Sweep! describes how his design resulted in the Zamboni machine (used a Repairmen whose “great ideas” were born of necessity are the subjects of the newest additions to this biography series. In the 1920s, Frank Zamboni opened a skating rink and needed to speed up the 90-minute task of resurfacing the ice to make it smooth. Clean Sweep! describes how his design resulted in the Zamboni machine (used all over the world today), which can move many cubic feet of ice in one pass, wash the surface, and apply fresh water’all in 10 minutes. Benoit’s gouache and watercolor illustrations accurately depict the changing time periods, and the rounded shapes, with warm, muted blues, grays, and browns, are pleasing to a child’s eye. To the Rescue! delineates how Garrett Morgan, a Kentucky-born son of slaves, developed a stronger sewing machine belt, a cream that prevented sewing machine needles from damaging cloth (and that also straightened hair), and a personal safety hood that would become the first gas mask used by firemen, underground workers, and World War I soldiers in the trenches. While Morgan faced discrimination and had to hire a white assistant to help market his product, his contributions to safety continue to be lauded by police and fire departments all around the country. Parkins uses his cartoonist skills in outlining these richly detailed illustrations, filled in with subdued gray and brown watercolors. The narratives are historically informative, and appended notes remind readers of the lasting impact of these men’s great ideas. VERDICT Wonderful nonfiction narratives that can be used to highlight diverse innovators whom history texts may have overlooked.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland
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Garrett Morgan (1877-1963), African American inventors, Biography, Breathing apparatus, Discrimination, Cleveland, Ohio,