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History of the Parking Meter

Since the turn of the 20th century and the economic boom that made cars more affordable to the masses, automobiles flooded great American cities leaving urbanists and city planners wondering how to make roads more navigable. The fast-growing automobile industry resulted in more cars on the streets but more importantly, left more cars unattended as there was a lack of clearly designated parking areas.

The concept of parking and regulations surrounding it were almost nonexistent in cities until along came Carl C. Magee, a newspaperman from Oklahoma City. Magee, a businessman himself, shared in the collective frustrations of shopkeepers in the city who were losing business due to inadequate parking spots for customers. Inspired to find a solution to the inefficient parking management system across cities, Magee sponsored a contest at the University of Oklahoma. The design contest asked students to develop a timing device that allowed vehicles to park at a location for a fixed duration.

In 1932, Magee and the winner, Gerald A. Hale, launched the Magee-Hale Park-O-Meter Company. Three years later, the first parking meter in the world was installed on First Street and Robinson Avenue, charging a nickel per hour and revolutionizing parking. 

World’s first parking meter
Newspaper in 1935 when the first parking meter was installed















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