Friday, 15 February 2008

The origin of the traffic lights

On 10 December 1868, the first traffic lights were installed outside the British Houses of Parliament in London, to allow MP to cross the street!It had a couple of semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for night use. The gas lantern was turned with a lever at its base so that the appropriate light faced traffic. but the invention didn't last because unfortunately, it exploded on 2 January 1869, injuring the policeman who was operating it... babooooommmm ... It was removed and until 1914 it wasn't installed a traffic signal on the corner of 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, what is known as the first traffic light in history. But why since the beginning the colors have been always red, green and later yellow?? Why not blue or ... pink ?! Very simple. The red color represents in nature a warning signal, alarm, signal. The reason is the long wavelength of the red color, and gets fast into the eyes (blue is a short wavelength color). Green is a red complementary color, and that's why was also chosen. The yellow was added later because after the red is the color with longer wavelength. Moreover, in every country of the world, the red color is either on the top or to the left, so it can be interpreted by the color blind persons ... and in every country of the world the traffic lights are the same annoying!

Chimps 1 ... Humans 0

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