100 Years of the Traffic Light

William Potts’ 4-way signal from 1920, now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan.

William Potts’ 4-way signal from 1920, now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. If you like this image, you can buy it from the Henry Ford Museum.

I’ve decided that there’s more to this hobby than just looking at my collection, so here it is. It’s My Traffic Lights Blog. Never thought I’d actually start a blog. I feel so… 2005.

Although you’ll find conflicting information on the web resulting in dates from 1886 to 1920, August 5, 2014 marked 100 years of traffic control devices as we know them today and many are celebrating the first officially-functional traffic signal being placed into service on August 5, 1914. You can learn more about it in this article. There are other implementations of traffic control devices, and you read about them on Wikipedia.

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the world of traffic control devices and there’s quite a bit of history to them. You drive under them numerous times a day, obeying their lights, understanding that there’s nothing physical to force you to obey them, but only the thought of what the consequences are if you do disobey them. So with that, I’ve decided that I need an outlet for things “traffic light” that aren’t necessarily in my collection but are interesting nonetheless. This might include articles on innovation, other collectors, finding your own signals, identification, restoration, and whatever else comes to mind. This is sort of the catch-all outlet, which I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I’ll enjoy writing.

Thanks, and hope to see you back soon.

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