Rushden Transport Museum
Object of the month
Early road signs were almost unregulated. There were regional variations of symbols, colour schemes, and wording. This proved confusing, when travelling greater distances, as sign styles changed.
In 1933, Percy Shaw invented the
“Cats Eyes” road markers for highlighting the centre line of the road at night. The same style of reflectors were utilised on roadside signs, as shown here.
At this time, roadside signs were usually made of cast iron, painted with a white background, and black raised detail. The reflectors were used to highlight the symbol, when highlighted by vehicle headlights.
As technology progressed, roadside signs were made from cast aluminium, still with raised detail. Later still, the signs were made from aluminium sheet, with retroreflective white coating, from 3M. The black detail was applied afterwards, to show the warning symbol, and lettering.
In later years, signage was standardised across the UK, by the
Anderson Committee (1957), the Warboys Committee (1963),
and the Guilford Rules (c 1985).