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On October 13, 1914, Cleveland, Ohio, resident Garrett Augustus Morgan patented a gasmask. While earlier inventors had developed their own gasmasks, Morgan's was of a far superior quality. Morgan demonstrated his superior design when an explosion of methane gas occurred at the Cleveland Waterworks, trapping eleven workers underground. Two rescue parties failed to return after entering the tunnel where the explosion occurred. Morgan, his brother, and a neighbor descended into the tunnel using Morgan's gasmasks. The three men made four trips into the tunnel. They were able to pull all twenty-one people out of the tunnel, but only two of the victims survived. Having demonstrated the viability of his gasmask, Morgan immediately received orders for his product from fire departments and mine owners across the United States and Europe. The United States Army also utilized a slightly redesigned Morgan gasmask during World War I.

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