Lester Wire
Taken from the Websters World Encyclopedia 1999


One of the world's first electric traffic lights was developed in 1912 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, by Lester Wire, a detective on the city police force. A wooden box with a slanted roof, the lights were colored with red and green dye and shone through circular openings. The box was mounted on a pole and the wires were attached to the overhead trolley and light wires. It was manually operated. Cleveland, Ohio, adopted a more elaborate electric signal in 1914, which became the prototype of all modern systems. Its two colours (red and green) could be controlled both by hand or by an automatic timer. They were supplemented by warning buzzers. These could still easily be heard, as traffic then was not as deafening as it is nowadays. The number of buzzes one or two indicated the direction.

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