Thread Number: 72946  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Street signs/etc
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Post# 963644   10/21/2017 at 10:09 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

Have to admit I have a slight interest in street signs and road signs. I used to like looking for more unusual ones when I was a kid. I also always try to see what are the oldest signs I can find that are still in use. Up until about 10 or 12 years ago there were some older road signs being used in my street, but they have all since been replaced.

The newer ones seem to have stickers on the back that have installation and inspection dates. The old ones just had the county stamped on them, so I don't know how old they are. I remember one rural highway near me had those tall striped reflector signs near a culvert area for a creek, and they were stamped with the date 12-95 in big numbers on the back. They have since been replaced.

Unfornately I am sure there are no true antique signs in my area, nor antique traffic signals.





Post# 963658 , Reply# 1   10/21/2017 at 11:51 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I like the overhead lighted-from-within signs often mounted on the mast arms that hold traffic signals. When I first saw them decades ago, they looked so futuristic, like something from the General Motors' Futurama at the 1939 World's Fair. I am very attracted to lighted objects, like control panels and signs. I remember in the late 50s and early 60s the difference between gasoline station signs. Old stations in the rural areas (this was before the interstate highway system was completed) often had metal signs lighted by a light bulb in a porcelain reflector on each side of the sign. By being the only source of light in the night, they really stood out as beacons in the rural darkness, but looked dated and lonely. Contrast those with the modern signs that were plastic and illuminated with fluorescent tubes from within so the light was streaming from the sign, not reflected off the metal signs and was the fuller spectrum quality of fluorescent rather than the reddish light of incandescent bulbs. The were large light sources and were modern looking along the highways, even if the stations were not new.

Post# 963678 , Reply# 2   10/21/2017 at 14:15 by johnrk (Houston)        
stop signs

I remember as a small child in the late 50's we still had stop signs that were the same shape, but painted yellow with lines of reflectors and the word 'stop' in black paint.

Post# 963681 , Reply# 3   10/21/2017 at 14:25 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture

One big difference you see in in the US compared to Canada is you still have a majority of those traffic lights strung across intersections on cables instead of mounted on poles with arms stretching across..  I haven't seen one of those left in Canada in decades.. except I think in Vancouver they still have some because of all the trolley wires.  


Post# 963682 , Reply# 4   10/21/2017 at 14:26 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Post# 963815 , Reply# 5   10/22/2017 at 03:01 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Seems like everyone likes signs of some sort or another-yes,even have a small collection of them.Also like movie and ad bannedrs-collect them whenever I can-sometimes you find them in dumpsters for---FREE!!!or ask your favorite shops for one they no longer want.I like the road signs and billboards lit with MH lights.Oh-also have some billboard signs-Checked with a local billboard company here-Got several for like 10 bucks each.Most are for Taco Bell resturants.Folks often use the old billboards as tarps.Also signmaking is sort of fascinating go to a sign supply shop and you will see!And of course everyone likes NEON signs.-NOT the fake LED ones-but REAL neon!

Post# 963830 , Reply# 6   10/22/2017 at 08:32 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

There is a very old reflectorized sign (probably dates from the 50s) on a main street here in Detroit directing traffic to the "Lodge Expressway"...it's reflectors on black and is a style that literally you haven't seen in 50 years. I want it so badly for the wall somewhere...it's a real relic, particularly because signage here in Michigan is usually quite modern (between Michigan and Michigan State they do much of the traffic research in north America.)

Post# 964042 , Reply# 7   10/23/2017 at 17:45 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        
US shields in color

I always liked the colored US highway signs used in southern cities. I remember them in various parts of Mississippi. There were red, blue, green and yellow backgrounds with white numbers. I remember that in Jackson, city route US 80 was yellow, US 49 red, and city route US 51 was blue. The last one I saw was on Old Brandon Rd. (original route of 80) near the intersection of the first Old HWY 49. That was several years ago, so don't know if it still exists or not.

Post# 964059 , Reply# 8   10/23/2017 at 19:47 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

A town over from me just replaced all its street signs, added a stop sign on one street and raised some speed limits.

All the stop lights along route 30 & 41 in NW Indiana are strung up on cables too. They were all replaced a couple years back with black backed versions instead of the all yellow with no backing that they were. In Illinois all stop lights are black.
It's a little disconcerting watching them sway when the winds are howling with 30-50 MPH gusts like is common fall, winter, and spring. Though I see a lot of lights with the steel arms sway in those winds too. I've seen one even come down before.


Post# 964075 , Reply# 9   10/23/2017 at 21:21 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

Here, most of our traffic lights are strung on wires, but there are a few on the
horizontal poles. You definitely don't see the old yellow metal traffic lights anywhere or anything near that old. I remember one set of lights that was kind of at an angle had those louvered lenses that helped prevent glare and made the lights easier to see, but they've been replaced with newer lights since.

I too like those lighted street signs with the florescent tubes behind them. We have those around here but they're mostly on the streets that intersect with the highway.

I remember as a kid being fascinated by those billboards that were motorized I guess with louvers, so that one billboard could show two or three different ads. Some billboards in my town are now digital signs that show slideshows of ads.


Post# 964150 , Reply# 10   10/24/2017 at 14:41 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
street signs....

firedome's profile picture
we have a few in the garage, but here's an unusual one. It came from the estate of a friend who died, not sure where he got it, but seems to have some kind of "French connection" given the gendarme !?

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Post# 964152 , Reply# 11   10/24/2017 at 14:46 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
have a couple of signals too...

firedome's profile picture
including this yellow 4-way beacon, and the deco design green one, shown in this 1955 brochure (don't have a pic of the actual signal since it was restored) ...more garage decor.

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Post# 964171 , Reply# 12   10/24/2017 at 17:38 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

I must correct myself, the ones we have along the US highways in my state are black with yellow backing. The old ones were just yellow like in the second pic (all the towns still use those). And the third one is the typical all black ones you see in IL. Never really realized why til recently but always felt weird crossing the border into IL even though everything looks the same, I think it's the change in traffic lights, the poles etc. 


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Post# 964179 , Reply# 13   10/24/2017 at 18:38 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Something else I liked and considered ultra modern are the horizontal lights, also on mast arms. I remember driving through some small towns where the traffic lights just had two lenses, red and green. The green light would be on and then the red light would join it, sort of replacing the yellow light and then the green would go off and traffic would stop. I have no idea how old or how much cheaper they were than the standard three light models.

Post# 964196 , Reply# 14   10/24/2017 at 21:46 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture

The traffic signals in Alberta are all mounted horizontally . I've seen them mounted that way in some states as well, can't remember which. 


Post# 964215 , Reply# 15   10/25/2017 at 05:28 by gredmondson (San Francisco, CALIFORNIA)        

I am interested in street signs, too.
I hate to admit this because it makes me sound like a cranky old man, but some street signs make me mad. The biggest offenderI have seen are the street signs in San Luis Obispo, California. First of all the font is very stylized, so it is hard to read. Second, there is no uniform uppercase letter for the the first letter in the street name, and third, there is a variation in the font! Fourth, it is an odd color for street signs. I have wondered who on earth made the decision that resulted in those signs. That person should be fired.
I used to live in San Luis Obispo, and I love that place--except those dang street signs.
The first desirable quality of a street sign is for it to be easily read! The second is beauty.
I have thought taking photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly of street signs and posting them on the internet.





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