Vehicular Signals  Dedicated to the Preservation of Historical Traffic Control Devices

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Vehicular Signals

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Listings proceeded by a "*" symbol have animated photos...just click to view the signal in action!


 * CROUSE-HINDS 4-WAY- This is the "4-way" version of the traffic signal. It had four signals all rolled into one unit. This particular signal was manufactured by Crouse-Hinds circa 1945. Crouse-Hinds officially refers to these as the as the type "D" non adjustable signal. One thing that made this particular signal unusual is that a compass (N,E,S,W) was cast into the top of the signal. I'm not sure why they did this, but it is a feature that's unique to Crouse-Hinds and Darley Signals.

It was a popular type in the 40s and 50s. All the medium to large sized towns had at least one of these hung in the middle of their town to slow the traffic down through town---even if it really wasn't needed! Click on the picture to watch the signal sequence!




Another view of my Crouse-Hinds 4-way signal. The signal has the original paint and embossed lenses with legends of the three safety commands.    The lenses shown here are the original lenses that included the basic commands "STOP, CAUTION", and "GO" along with color. The lenses also sport the "CH" cube logo. The lenses shown here have been restored to their original black color.  When I received the signal, the paint on the commands was almost entirely flaked away...leaving just the ridged glass letters.




Here is a Crouse Hinds 4-way signal, but with quite unusual visors over the middle yellow sections.  They are part "tunnel" and part "cutaway".  I'm not completely sure what was the particular reason for these "tunnaway" visors, but it adds to the mystique of the signal. This signal features the "smiley" lenses and original cloth wiring inside. This particular lens uses a refractive lens pattern that looks like a "smiley face" when seen close up. There are two types of these lenses. The older types uses larger "beads" and ridges than the newer lenses.




* CROUSE-HINDS 2 WAY- Here is a typical example of what a lot of towns used more recently in their central business district (CBD). The intersections basically had 4 poles-one on each corner, with a 2 way signal like this mounted on top. It was an efficient, simple design but became problematic when the adjacent stores and shops employed neon and other colored lights. The background became "busy" and back plates and overhead signals started to be used to overcome this problem. There are still a few of the "old style" intersections left, however. Click on the picture to see it sequence!





This Crouse-Hinds signal once stood guard at the Southern California intersection of U.S. 101 and Ortega Highway...immediately adjacent to the old Mission San Juan Capistrano! As the photo shows, these older signals used latches for door access and used an "art deco" style ornamental design. Another trait these older signals employed were integral visors...that is, that the visors were built as part of the signal itself, not as a replaceable piece! Use of replaceable visors became a popular idea soon after, because once the signal was damaged, the entire unit had to be replaced. This photo is also a good example in showing the "smiley lens" configuration that was popular in the 40's and 50's.







Another example of an early Crouse hinds with the fancy ornamental final at the top and post adapter.  This signal also sports the original lettered lenses. The color scheme on this signal was the popular yellow body with black visors/ doors. Note also, that the art deco parts of the signals have been "trimmed".  his was because originally the signal mountings were flush with the signal head and the extrusions had to be cut. Sad, but the signal still retains its distinctive character. The single head models were known as either" D" or "DT" depending on if they had cast aluminum reflector frames or stamped aluminum. The example pictured here is a "DT" model. These are slightly later in the timeline than the type "D".









NEWER CROUSE-HINDS 8" SIGNAL HEAD- This is the more modern (70's) version of the Crouse-Hinds aluminum vehicle signal head. This model "R" sports the color combination used in Georgia, where it's doors with yellow body. Unfortunately, much of the unique ornamental qualities from the past models were left out in the newer version.



Sad to say, Crouse Hinds is no longer in the signal business.  In the 80's they sold out to TCT and thus ended an interesting chapter in American signaling history!








Here is a view of the signal shop workbench. As you can see, it is always busy testing "new" old controllers and signal equipment. The signal in this picture is a Crouse-Hinds "combo" signal. It has a 12" red indication and 8" yellow and green aspects. This view also shows some of the Auto Club porcelain signs that I also collect.




Here is a view of a Crouse-Hinds art deco signal with a very rare arrow lens. These lenses were discontinued in the early 70's because of driver confusion at longer distances. Also pictured are Econolite and Eagle controllers and some old porcelain signs.








 W.S. DARLEY 4-WAY- Darley signals were mainly manufactured in the 1920's through the early 40's. The earliest of these signals used one lamp and a "cone like" reflector system to direct light from the lamp to the four lenses.  This system proved very inefficient because the lamp was behind the reflector instead of in front and most of the light was lost, as the only reflected light was bounced into the reflector from the front lens.  The example I have here is a later version that has separate lamp/ reflector assembles for each lens.  This signal is also unique in that it has the mechanical flasher unit installed in the base of the light.  All that is needed is the supply power. This signal also has the compass directions (N,E,S,W) cast onto the roof of the signal.



General Electric


 * GE 4-WAY SIGNAL- General Electric was in the 4-way signal business also in the 40's and 50's and came up with their own version pictured here.  The signal features screw on visors and embossed lenses with the GE logo. The signal also has a cast logo into the top pagoda. GE later sold out their signal business to Econolite in 1957 and stopped making 4-way signals. This signal is different form others because the reflectors clamp to the back of the lens.  This helps to keep the reflector cleaner by providing a tighter seal between the reflector and lens. This signal hails from a remote intersection in Montana. Click on the picture for an animation of this signal.




 * GE / ECONOLITE DOGHOUSE SIGNAL- This is an 8" version of the popular "doghouse" style protective/permissive signals that are becoming quite popular in America. Typically, this version is suspended over the intersection above the left turn lane that it controls.  When the green arrow is lit, left turn drivers know they have a "protected left"...that is, the opposite signal for oncoming traffic is red. When just the green ball is lit, left turn traffic would then have a "permissive" green...they can only make their left when opposing traffic has cleared.  Click on the photo to view the animation.





MARBELITE- Marbelite signals have been in business in one form or another for a long time.  Though most signals were made and used in the eastern part of the U.S., a few made it to the west. Pictured here is their version of the 8" lensed 4-way signal. They can be distiguished by the lower pagoda on top and flat bottom.  The top directions of the signal are marked "1,2,3,4 rather than the compass directions that Crouse-Hinds used. They also have their name cast onto the top and bottom of the signal. The lenses are the "large bead" variety and reflectors are all Lancaster Glass.




And here is the 12" version of their signal.  When I originally obtained the signal, it was a battleship grey color.  I have since repainted it to the back & yellow scheme you see here. The back side of this signal is one of the most unique I have seen.








Sargent Sowell

SARGENT-SOWELL- Here is yet another 4 way signal in my collection. It is a bit newer than the Crouse-Hinds signal, but was probably used in the late 50's / early 60s. The signal was manufactured in Grand Prairie, Texas. I haven't been able to find much information on the original manufacturer but I believe that today, this signal is still being manufactured by Teeco Safety Inc. out of Shreveport, Louisiana. An interesting feature of this signal is that the control mechanism was built right into the bottom of the signal. One only had to feed it power and the signal ran on it's own on a pre determined cycle. Boy, life seemed simpler in those days!




EAGLE SIGNAL- This is one of the oldest signals in my collection. Its an Eagleux flashing 3 way beacon with a date (stamped on the inside) from 1936. It's in original condition except for a newer coat of paint and one red lens. All the wiring, reflectors, sockets, and yes, the CAUTION lenses are originals. There is even an old "skeleton type" key attached in the housing for the flasher box that controlled it!


Eagle signal was probably the most popular signal purchased in most of America in the 1950's and 60's. The sale of Eagle products at a modest price were most popular in the heartland, and controllers and signals began to pop up in even the most smallest of towns. It seemed that every town wanted to have it's own "stoplight" to slow traffic and increase a town's revenue in shopping and in law enforcement! This particular signal was used in Pella, Iowa, and my father learned to drive during the era that it was in use. This signal was mounted to a street light pole for many years, and it had to be cut away because of the many years of winter and corrosion! The example pictured here is the one of the earlier Eagleux model.







EAGLE 4-WAY- Pictured here is Eagle's version of the 4-way signal.  These signals were usually placed by themselves over the roadway without any auxiliary signal faces in the same direction.  Of course, if a lamp would happen to burn out, there wasn't any way to determine what color was supposed to be displayed. Many right angle accidents  would occur because of oversimplified installations. The Eagle 4-way was one of the most popular "1st and Main" guardians of mid-western, small town America traffic control, and was fairly popular in the Western cities as well. This signal hails from Nashville, Tennessee.





 * EAGLE COMBO W/ PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL- As with other signal manufacturers, Eagle signals came in a variety of styles and colors. Also, signal contractors  would cannibalize some signals to upgrade to newer ordinances.  This particular signal uses a newer Durasig 12" red section on top of the older, 8" aluminum body. The pedestrian signal is a 9" unit with incandescent lamps. Many contractors preferred having both vehicular signals and pedestrian signals to use the same lamps for easier maintenance. Both signals sport the older "cut away" type visors.








ECONOLITE'S FIRST TRAFFIC SIGNAL- This is one of the few "traffic signals" that were manufactured by Econolite back in 1933. It consisted of a standard stop sign with a red light installed in the top part of the sign. The flashing action of the red light was run magnetically with a circular disc and a moving motors were used! There is also a picture of one of these on Econolite's website, in the "History" section.




ECONOLITE SIGNALS  were probably the most popular signal in California. One of the signals that were very popular were the "combo left arrow" signal.  This signal used a 12" green arrow indication along with 8" red and yellow sections.  The smaller sections utilized a 3 or 5 section "louver" system to help block the view of the signal from adjacent lanes of traffic. These signals were normally placed in the median of the roadway and placed "back-to-back" with the upper signal controlling the left turn lane directly across the perpendicular cross street, and a lower signal close to the left side, opposite left turn lane. The signals have begun to fall victim to the "all arrow" 12" heads, as well as removal of the signals from the medians in favor of longer mast arms.






The Econolite combo signal shown here was another popular signal because of the larger 12" red indication. Many municipalities preferred this signal because of the better visibility of the red lamp. Basically, this signal was a kind of "transition" signal to the eventual change to all 12" indications. This signal sports a newer LED red indication.









 * ECONOLITE 8" WITH ICC NEON PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL- This signal typifies the Southern California signal of the later 70's and early 80's.  Many of the pedestrian signals still used word legends instead of symbols and vehicle signals were still largely of the 8" lens variety. While most of California used the 8" back plates (pictured here), Los Angeles typically used the thinner 5". Click on the picture to view the signal animation.











ECONOLITE 8" 2-WAY WITH NEON PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL- This is the best example of the signals that once populated Southern California during the late 50's through the early 80's.  Every intersection in the downtown areas sported these 2-way, top-of-pole mount 8" signals with back plates and neon pedestrian signals. It has been sad to see these signals fall victim to the conversion to 12" signals, but it has been a joy to preserve several examples in the museum's "garden". The 2-way hardware includes a vertical terminal compartment for easily connecting the signal wires to the field terminals.






12" ADAPTER UNIT- Here is a view of one of my Econolite signals with a 12" adapter on the red section. These adapters bolt right onto the visor screws of the existing 8" signal section. All one has to remove is the 8" red lens, visor and reflector. Many older signals downtown retrofitted these in this way so they didn't have to remove the signal already in place. Note: Southern California signals typically use full circle visors, unlike most of the US. Not sure exactly why this is, but it's been the standard for many years.






FIBER-OPTIC ARROW SIGNAL- This is a fairly unique signal that you can only find in a few states. The green and yellow arrow are enclosed in the same housing via fiber optic lines that run from the appropriate lamp/color filter assembly to the arrow itself. The one drawback to this particular kind of signal was that the colorblind could not tell if the signal was green or yellow, because the arrow didn't change position on the signal face like the more common 5 section faces did! This signal is also using all LED indications.

LED's are rapidly becoming more commonplace because of their longevity and reliability.

They also are highly energy efficient....only 10 watts vs. the usual 69 watts!


A Closer view of the inner workings of the fiber-optic signal.  Note the two projector lamps and color filters to project the appropriate color through the fibers to the lens.





ARIZONA-STYLE 5 LIGHT SIGNAL- This is an example of a combo signal with an 8" R-Y-G and 12" yellow and green arrows. This particular example hails from Arizona where black signals with extra long tunnel visors are the norm.











LFE / Automatic Signal


12" ARROW LED SIGNAL- Another example of an all LED signal head. LED's are also quite bright and has the special feature that if one LED stops functioning, the others remain lit. It is quite interesting to note the "crispness" of how these signals change. They don't "fade out" like normal incandescent lamps do.

This photo shows the full size view of the signal with associated incandescent pedestrian signal. Signal stands 11' tall in my "garden"! The LED signal is made by LFE and pedestrian signal by Indicator Controls Corp.










SAFETRAN- This signal once operated in the lone star state of Texas.  Notice that it is horizontally mounted and is made of polycarbonate.  Many states are going to these signals because of their lightweight design and lower maintenance...they don't have to be repainted because the color is part of the plastic.





WINKO-MATIC- Example of a 12" beacon made by this predecessor to Indicator Controls, Inc.








3M 8" PROGRAMMED VISIBILITY SIGNAL (PV)-This is the 8" version of 3M's limited visibility signal. It uses two integral lenses and a method, via a aluminum foil type masking, to mask the indications from adjacent lanes approaching the signal. The special internal lens "magnifies" the lamp and create a more efficient specific point of focus.


3M 12" PROGRAMMED VISIBILITY SIGNAL (PV)- And here is the more common 12" PV head. It is an unusual signal in appearance because of its square lenses and "space age" looking visors. This signal uses the fresnel lensing out front and uses 150 watt PAR 36 type lamps that are accessed through the rear door. It features a safety door in that, when the door is opened the lamp is "unplugged". The signal also employs a dimming capability to each lamp, so as not to be too bright at night.



Another view showing the rear door access and cutaway visors. The individual sections can be aligned left-to-right and up-to-down by special pins between sections. In this way, the red section can be tipped down lower than the green creating equal "focus points" for all the sections. Also note the bullet marks in the red section of this unit. When I first got this unit, the red lens was broken and I found 3 bullets inside (probably from a frustrated motorist)!








Signals from Other Countries


BRITISH SIGNAL- Here is one of the oldest and rarest signals in my collection. It is from England and dated from the later 30s. It has the message "STOP" embossed on the red lens and also has a green arrow indication. The signal is surrounded by other old signs that I have accumulated over the years. Note the left hand opening doors.



GREEK SIGNAL- This is a brand new, out-of-the-box example of the signals used in Greece and other countries.  They are usually made of polycarbonate and run on 10.5VAC.  There is a transformer in each section to convert to the proper voltage to run the halogen lamp. Note the interesting "spider web" lens pattern. This signal is made by VRX Light Signal.







Pedestrian Signals

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