World’s First Parking Meter Anniversary

Anniversary of the First Parking Meter

Today is a big day. Yes, it’s Friday (hi weekend mode), but it’s the anniversary (actually tomorrow, July 16th, is the real anniversary, but we’ll celebrate a day early) of the first parking meter! Cue: happy birthday music. It’s obvious that the parking industry has come a long way. We have the first physical parking meter to thank for kicking off all industry innovations to come.


(Vintage Park-o-Meter ad)

In 1935, the parking meter made its official debut on First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City. The real brainchild of the masterpiece? Carl C. Magee, of course. Thanks to Carl’s invention, the industry has grown leaps and bounds. Magee’s “colorful” past has played an integral part into the launch of the meter. He began his career as a reporter for the Albuquerque newspaper, where he played a key role in uncovering Wyoming’s ‘Teapot Dome Scandal’, where Albert B. Fall (secretary of the interior at the time) was accused of “renting government lands to oil companies in return for personal loans and gifts”.  Fast forward to when Magee moved to Oklahoma City and decided to start a newspaper – the Oklahoma News. During his time at the Oklahoma News, Magee uncovered a major problem – a sufficient lack of parking for America’s urban dwellers. As city populations and automobiles began vastly increasing, the first parking meter was the infamous solution.


(Carl C. Magee)

Meet: Park-o-Meter – the world’s first parking meter.

In July 1935, the first model was installed by Dual Parking Meter Company. For an hour parking session, it cost a nickel. Cheap, right?! Retailers loved Magee’s invention, specifically because of the quick turnover of cars and potential customers for shops, and the meters gained popularity. By the 1940s, there was over 140,000 meters in the United States.

Looking back on the parking industry; where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going – parking has made some major shifts. From the first Park-o-Meter to being able to pay for parking via your smartphone, the innovations to come are endless…

Cheers to you, Park-o-Meter! We’ll have an extra piece of birthday cake, just for you.