Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Mystery Stem in a Car

Today as I was driving in my car, I discovered this new accessory. Curious, I thought I would look it up in my car's manual. Apparently, it is called a turn signal.

This of course made me more curious as this was a foreign concept to me. So I looked it up. Apparently, one would flip it up or down and it sends a signal telling the car to turn on certain lights. These lights evidently will communicate your intentions to other drivers. This is useful when you want to be in the same lane or you are slowing down to turn.

I guess occasionally I see these lights on other cars, but sometimes this is rare so I thought it was a celebratory thing. I guess not.

Doing a little more research, I decided to look up their history as they must be a new invention.

Interestingly enough, the concept of the turn signal has been around since 1907 when Percy Douglas-Hamilton applied for a Patent. This was approved in 1909. In 1914, a mechanical signaling arm was invented, this would put a sign on the bumper telling the driver's intentions.

In 1920, the first flashing signals were introduced by the Protex Safety Signal Company. In 1925, Edgar A. Walz secured the patent for the first modern turn signal but car companies were not interested and the patent expired.

In 1939, Buick became the first manufacturer to introduce a factory installed turn signal. Slowly, other manufacturers incorporated them and in 1968 they became required by U.S. Federal law. So it turns out they have been around for a while.

Anyways, I hope you appreciated this little history lesson and please use your signals in the future.

Thank You.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Pull Up A Chair said...

I love this. I have known about the turn signal since back when I started driving back in the early '70's. I began using it right away. I have noticed that lots of other drivers, like yourself, have never seen the thing on the steering wheel before. Please use it since it's the polite thing to do while driving.

Mikoyan said...

Actually, I do know what a turn signal us and use it a fairly religious basis. I just see all the other cars out there that don't.

Roz said...

Actually, this custom of ignoring turn signals is unique to Michigan. In other places, notably Boston, drivers use them a bit like game joysticks: signal randomly, hoping to catch someone off guard.

cmadler said...

LOL at Boston drivers. When we visited this summer, we were told, "Don't make eye contact with other drivers; they'll just take it as a sign of weakness." Yeah.