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SI1980

Classic Traffic Signals From New York City

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Some of you may remember that most traffic signals throughout New York City were composed of only two signal indications, and they were red and green. This was the norm for quite a long period of time (prior to the widespread use of the amber indication in the 1950s). Below, is a small set of photographs that I acquired of such traffic signals that were once in service throughout the city. Enjoy them.

 

Classic traffic signal from the Ruleta company outside of St. Patrick's cathedral. Manhattan, Unknown year.

 

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A Ruleta in its famous overlap phase (both signal indications lit at the same time), which warned drivers to come to a full stop. From Life magazine. Circa 1957.

 

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Crossing on green. 1920s.

 

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Well known bronze signal (as some people refer to it as) on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. 1940s. It was quite a decorative traffic signal that was introduced in the city in 1931.

 

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Marbelite cluster on Park Avenue. At E. 49th street. May, 1971.

 

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Park Avenue. Circa 1968.

 

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Nice pics.

 

Quick question though, prior to the solid red sequence there was a flashing red sequence, correct?

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Nice pics.

 

Quick question though, prior to the solid red sequence there was a flashing red sequence, correct?

 

You are right; that has been in use for many years. In the old days, a beacon that controlled a simple four-way intersection in a small town typically had four sides. Two sides flashed amber for the main drag, while the other two flashed red for the cross street.

 

Although I cannot be sure, it is unlikely that these traffic signals in New York City were set to operate in flash mode as well.

Edited by SI1980

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You are right; that has been in use for many years. In the old days, a beacon that controlled a simple four-way intersection in a small town typically had four sides. Two sides flashed amber for the main drag, while the other two flashed red for the cross street.

 

Although I cannot be sure, it is unlikely that these traffic signals in New York City were set to operate in flash mode as well.

Oh, alright. Helps to understand a bit.

 

Well thanks for elaborating, I appreciate it greatly.

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