For this Throwback Thursday we are taking a look at the history of the flashing turn signal lights. You know, the ones you wish everyone would use.
Florence Lawrence, an actress in the 1920’s, designed an “arm” . This “arm” allowed drivers to push a button, in which a sign on the rear bumper came up telling others which way the driver would turn.
The Protex Safety Signal Company introduced flashing turn signals in 1920.
The first modern turn signal, can be attributed to Edgar A. Walz, Jr. who, in 1925, secured a patent for one. He tried to market it to major car manufacturers; with little interest. The patent expired fourteen years later.
Meanwhile several models were invented, but nothing really took off. Most drivers continued using standard hand signals into the late forties. Although, there were add-on options for lighted turn signals, they were not required.
By 1951, most Americans could afford a vehicle that had built-in turn signals. In 1968 the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 required amber front lights to replace the standard white previously used. Rear turn signals could be amber or red.
Today’s turn signal controls have remained the same for more than 60 years, with the exception of LED turn signals that were introduced in 1980s.