Selections from Hagley Museum and Library's archives and published collections on the history of American business, technology, and innovation.
The Hagley Vault
The first U.S. patent for a traffic signal was issued on this date, November 29, in 1910. Patent No. 976,939 for a "Street Traffic System" was granted to Ernest E. Sirrine, an engineer from Chicago, Illinois.
The design, based on an earlier system designed by English engineer and railway manager John Peake Knight, featured crosswise-mounted sign arms that rotated to showing "Stop" and "Proceed" signs alternately in each direction, with each sign mounted on glass panels and illuminated by electric lights.Read more...
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