Traffic Lights: Anti White Racism
Posted in the Columbus Forum
#1 Apr 12, 2014
It made me sick that anti white racism existed since 19th century... wake up people!
This color scheme derives from a system used by the railroad industry since the 1830s. At this time, railroad companies developed a lighted means to let train engineers know when to stop or go, with different lighted colors representing different actions. They chose red as the color for stop, it is thought, because red has for centuries been used to indicate danger. For the other colors, they chose white as the color for go and green as the color for caution.
The choice of a white light for go turned out to cause a lot of problems. For instance, an incident in 1914 where a red lens fell out of its holder leaving the white light behind it exposed. This ended with a train running a “stop” signal and crashing into another train. Thus, the railroad decided to change it so the green light meant go and a caution “yellow” was chosen, primarily because the color is so distinct from the other two colors used.
On the other side of the pond, signaling traffic in the United States also used policemen as it was thought that people would not follow a set of rules unless there was some form of law enforcement present. Towers that allowed officers a better view of the traffic became commonplace in the 1910s and 1920s. During this time, officers could either use lights (usually red and green after the railroad system), semaphores, or simply just wave their arms to let traffic know when to stop or go.
In 1920 in Detroit Michigan, a policeman named William L. Potts invented the four-way, three-color traffic signal using all three of the colors now used in the railroad system. Thus, Detroit became the first to use the red, green, and yellow lights to control road traffic. Many inventors continued to come up with different designs for traffic signals, some adopting the red, yellow, green color scheme and some not. Most usually needed a person to push a button or flip a switch to change the light. As you might expect, this man-power intensive way to change the lights proved costly.
In the late 1920s, several “automatic” signals were invented. The first ones used the simple method of changing the lights at specific timed intervals. However, the drawback of having some vehicles stopped when there were no cars going in the other direction annoyed people. An inventor named Charles Adler Jr. had an idea to get around this problem. He invented a signal that could detect a vehicle’s horn honking. A microphone was mounted on a pole at the intersection and once the vehicle stopped, all they need do is honk their horn and the light would change. To keep people from continually honking to get the light to change, and thus causing havoc, once the light was tripped, it wouldn’t change again for 10 seconds, allowing at least one car to get through. Presumably this system was incredibly annoying to people walking by and to nearby homes and businesses.
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