Who is this guy? A traffic light collection? Really?
Thanks for visiting the official website for my collection of traffic lights – Stop lights, stop signals, red lights, whatever you'd like to call them. Odd hobby? Sure. I admit it. But everyone has some sort of "thing" that they're into or collect. For some people, it's coins. For others, it's books, salt & pepper shakers, or old computers. I collect traffic lights.
Where it All Started
For as long as I can remember, I've had a fascination with traffic lights. I don't know if it was because of the shapes, the lights, or both, but I wanted one badly. I etched images of them into furniture (ask my parents about the redwood patio furniture), I drew pictures of them with permanent marker (ask my parents about the basement stairs), I drew them on paper, I molded them out of clay, I folded them from cardboard, I tried every conceivable way to "build" a traffic light with the materials I had when I was a kid.
Father Feeds the Fire
When I was about four years old, my father built a traffic light night light for me. It was a "fixed four-way", about 20 inches tall, and constructed of quarter-inch particle board with round holes cut out for the lights. It used red, yellow, and green gels stuck to the inside of the holes for the lenses. It was lit by two night lights, each affixed to the top and bottom of the inside with electrical tape. Two extension cords, which powered the lights, ran down a chain from which it hung from the ceiling. I manually changed the phase of the light by plugging/unplugging the extension cords. Guess when I got my first taste of 120 volts running through my fingers.
Then one day when I was about 9 years old, a vendor at the Chester Flea Market had a full-blown, real traffic light sitting out for sale. My jaw just about hit the dirt. I didn't care that it didn't have the visors. It was so cool! My Dad eventually haggled the guy down from $80 to $45 and I got my first real traffic light. It came connected to a home-made controller box in which a rotating disc inside tripped roller switches. They allowed the signal to run through a normal sequence. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. After owning this signal for about 5 years or so, gravity took its toll on it when it tipped over and hit the concrete basement floor, smashing the red lens. This was long before eBay or the internet, so I had no clue where to get a replacement lens. I sold it at a garage sale for $30. Sigh.
Some Things, You Never Grow Out Of
Years later, and thanks primarily to eBay, Craigslist, and word-of-mouth, my enthusiasm re-emerged with hard-to-find, rare, and odd-ball signals of all sorts popping up from basements, attics, and barns all over the world. My collection continues to grow, much to the chagrin of my wife, but she knows I enjoy it and borderline tolerates my hobby, however odd it is.
As for my site, the navigation at the top of each page breaks down my collection into a few categories.
- Me & MTL - You're now on this page with more information than you probably ever wanted to know about me.
- Traffic Light Collections - This is just a categories landing page and break-down of the collections. You can also jump directly to each collection.
- Real - The real-deal traffic signals that performed duty in the real world.
- Toys - I loved them as a kid and still do. Games, accessories, and more.
- Wear - Anything that you could don or keep with you for that stylish night out on the town. Or look ridiculous.
- Décor - Generally, anything decorative you’d find around the home or office.
- Read - Book for all ages. It will eventually include brochures, magazines, and other reading material.
- Signs - These may not be signals, but they're still cool.
- Videos - Audio and video that showcase traffic signals in some way.
- Links - Surprisingly and thankfully, there are others who share my fascination with traffic signals. This includes manufacturers' sites, too. If you have your own website relating to the collecting, history, preservation, or general interest in traffic lights or signs, let me know. I'd be happy to add you to my list.
- Blog - There's more to traffic lights than what I have in my collection. Here's where I ramble on about signals I've seen in the wild, discussions about signals that others have asked me about, along with some signal history and random musings.
- Store - I can't keep everything. I do have traffic lights for sale, like toys, decor, and others. My inventory can change at any time, so I'd check back often. If you're looking for something in particular, let me know.
More traffic lights will be added as time creeps along, so check back some time. You never know when I might obtain a new signal. I'm sure you're sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting in anticipation.
If you have any questions about traffic signals, questions about my collection, or would like to offer some insight or expertise about one of my signals, please don't hesitate to contact me.
If you would like to learn how much your traffic signal is worth, I offer detailed appraisals for $25. Because there are no guide books for how much traffic signals are worth, I use my nearly 30 years of experience in buying, selling, and collecting signals to give you an idea of how much your signal may be worth. Email me for more information.
If you collect traffic signals or are in the traffic signal business and would like your website linked to from mine, let me know. Either way, it's always nice to connect with other who share interests. Contact me at Chris@MyTrafficLights.com
It's Me and Mini Me next to an old Acme Semaphore signal in Walt Disney World.
A warm welcome to my visitors from all over the world, including the ones who are likely hackers trying to break into my server.
Appraisals and Appreciation
I offer detailed appraisals of your traffic signal. I've been collecting for more than 20 years and have amassed quite a bit of useful (and sometimes useless) information. I just ask for a small donation along with your request.
And if you find any of the information on my site to be of value to you and you'd like to show your appreciation, I would greatly appreciate a small pittance to help keep my servers running. Thank you!