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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PROTECT HER FROM TUBERCULOSIS

Reflections on a Stop Sign: 1936

Reflections on a Stop Sign: 1936

March 1936. Washington, D.C. "No caption (man with stop sign)." Our second look in as many days at traffic sign history. Harris & Ewing photo. View full size.

 

Reflector buttons

Modern stop signs also use spherical reflectors, but they are now teeny-tiny glass balls embedded into an adhesive tape, made by 3M.

Multi-purpose

"And by simple letter substitution, the sign can urge the motorist to shop!"

Shapes, Colors and Buttons

The color of this sign is likely yellow. While the octagon shape was adopted fairly early, making it red was optional in the absence of a durable inexpensive red paint. The need to reflect headlights for night use led to extensive use of small round "button" reflectors inside the text. This sign may have been testing letter coloring and reflectivity.

Sliding tile game?

Hey, boss, look at all the different words we can make if the letters can be swapped!

TOPS
SPOT
POTS
STOP
POST

Don't stop me, I'm on a roll here.

Upon close inspection

it seems the sign was a grade eight woodworking class project.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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