The Difficult Historical past Of The Visitors Mild

A stoplight is seen in front of the dome of the US Capitol as a government shut down looms in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2023.

A stoplight is seen in entrance of the dome of the US Capitol as a authorities shut down looms in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2023.
Photograph: Mandel NGAN / AFP (Getty Photographs)

Visitors lights are each frequent and controversial. From a metropolis that solely allowed inexperienced lights for drivers staying contained in the pace restrict, to the ethics of turning proper on pink, there are a ton of how these easy gadgets have an effect on our lives. However how did it come to be?

We’ve mentioned the historical past of the visitors gentle right here on Jalopnik earlier than, however by no means on this granular element of this new video from my favourite bow-tied YouTube presenter Lancer Geiger. Geiger presents historical past in his greatest PBS particular voice on his YouTube channel, the Historical past Man.

Visitors Lights: A Historical past

You could have heard concerning the first electrical visitors gentle debuted on the nook of Euclid Avenue and East a hundred and fifth Road in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914, however that’s probably not the beginning of the visitors gentle’s story.

“It might shock you to be taught that the primary visitors lights pre-date automobiles by many many years,” THG says in his video. And what? I used to be shocked! The video traces visitors management all the way in which again to its origins to a dude employed to face on a bridge and direct visitors in 1669 London. The colours of the lights? That traces again to a parliamentary order in 1831 concerning the colours of working lights for boats.

From there, it was a gentle march of progress; a standardization of visitors police to lights management the enormous, mechanically timed orange dongles acquainted to us at this time. Your entire video is fairly fascinating. Have a look right here.


I was born on March 15, 1980, in Detroit, Michigan. I grew up in the heart of Motor City, surrounded by the culture of automobiles. I had a close-knit family, including my parents, two older siblings, and a younger brother. I attended Roosevelt High School in Detroit, where my love for cars began to flourish. From a young age, I showed an early interest in automobiles. I would spend hours tinkering with my bicycle and helping my father fix up our family car. It was clear that I had a natural affinity for all things mechanical. This passion for cars led me to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

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