The world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, was installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 16, 1935.
The parking meter was the brainchild of Carl C. Magee. Upon arriving in Oklahoma City, he noticed that urban America had a lack of sufficient parking space for the rapidly increasingly number of motorists driving to business districts everyday. Motivated by this gridlock dilemma Magee came decided to tackle “parking management solutions.” The original prototype sparked immediate controversy about the pros and cons of coin-regulated parking. Opponents of the meters considered paying for parking un-American, as it forced drivers to pay what amounted to a tax on their cars, depriving them of their money without due process of law.
Despite such opposition, the first meters were installed by the Dual Parking Meter Company beginning in July 1935; they cost a nickel an hour, and were placed at 20-foot intervals along the curb that corresponded to spaces painted on the pavement. Magee’s invention caught on quickly: retailers loved the meters, as they encouraged a quick turnover of cars and customers. By the early 1940s, there were more than 140,000 parking meters operating in U.S.