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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • JOIN THE NAVY, 1917

Allen-Bradley: 1940

Allen-Bradley: 1940

December 1940. "Putting up a new traffic signal in San Diego." Photo by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 
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The traffic light

Manufactured by General Electric between roughly 1937 and 1950, this is the Novalux sectionalized signal. The lenses are commonly referred to as "spiderweb" style and if you look closely you can see the GE logo embedded in the center of the lens. The pic below is one from my collection.

Interesting that they painted these in the field after installation instead of beforehand.

New Problems Don't Always Make Older Better

Yeah LEDs don't get hot enough to melt snow, but with the amount of money saved in electricity and re-lamping (LED signals use about 1/10 the electricity of incandescents, and last about 10 times longer) they can afford a crew to go out and blow off the signals with compressed air or brush them off with a pole the very few times a year when it might matter.

[U.S. Patent 7211771 B1, "De-Icing System for Traffic Signals." -Dave]

Older Was Better

You all may have noticed the proliferation of LED traffic signals in your area. I can tell you that in Erie, PA, the new ones don't get hot enough to melt the snow that blows into them. Same with LED marker signals and headlights on cars. Newer ain't necessarily better.

 
SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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