Parking meter inventor featured in ‘Time Machine’

Upper Iowa University alumnus Carlton Cole Magee was recently featured in the Cedar Rapids Gazette for his part in the invention of the parking meter. Magee’s work was also previously featured in The History Channel Magazine in 2010. UIU continues to recognize the former school administrator and journalist with a parking meter and plaque displayed on the second floor of the Andres Center for Business and Education on the Fayette Campus.

According to the plaque, Magee received his Masters of Art degree at Upper Iowa University in 1896. He later served as school superintendent in Iowa, an attorney in Oklahoma, and a newspaper editor in New Mexico. It was while living in Oklahoma City, Magee became intrigued by the complaints of downtown merchants. Apparently, customers couldn’t find convenient parking because office workers arrived before shops opened and lined the streets with their cars.

Reasoning that a coin-activated machine could be the solution, Magee worked with Oklahoma State University engineering professors on a design. In 1935, the Magee-Hale Park-O-Meter Company installed its first meter. A nickel provided parking for one hour at the time.

Those wishing to read the Gazette “Time Machine” article written by Diane Langton, may do so by visiting






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