What are Traffic Signs Origin?
The origin begins here, with the Roman Empire when milestones first became about. Back then they did not necessarily mean milestones as in “Baby’s First Steps” or “First Day of Preschool”. They actually marked miles with stones to know how far they were going and where they were going. The Caesars ordered the construction of 4,400lb stone markers and they numbered them. They would then place them at specific intervals along the 62,000 miles of Roman Roads.
Later in the Late Middle Ages, about 1300-1500, roads were beginning to receive names. Roads were typically named after the towns that they eventually led to. Signs were put up in intersections to mark the distance that remained from there to a certain town on their path.
Several hundred years later, in 1817, Baron Karl Von Drais invented the beginning of the bicycle. Which was then tweaked some in 1865 by adding pedals to it. Cycling started becoming very popular, especially in Europe. There were friendly cycling organizations that were created. Due to this, local authorities started to put up signs warning the cyclists of steep hills and dangerous turns to reduce injuries and untimely deaths.
The First Stop Sign
In 1899, after horseless carriages, drivers began to get lost along their journey. Clubs were formed and people decided to implement street signs to help everyone. So in 1915, the very first stop sign came about in Detroit, Michigan. And it was not red. It was a 2 x 2 white square with black text that read, “STOP”. All traffic signs were black and white.
Later on, shapes were determined for certain warnings due to people being able to see a shape before text during the night time.
The U.S Government did not make an effort to simplify and standardize the signs until 1948. In 1954, stop signs were no longer black and white and became yellow on red. Later, the invention on fade-resistant material created the iconic look of the white on red stop signs.
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Sources: https://www.esurance.com/info/car/the-history-of-street-signs ; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/magazine/stop-sign.html?_r=0