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The History of US Road Signs

May 16, 2016

After horseless carriages were developed and used all over the United States, drivers were constantly getting lost. There were no directional signs on the roads, and people didn’t know where to go. As a way to help with this issue, drivers started forming clubs as early as 1899 to place and maintain useful street signs. In fact, some smart entrepreneurs even took this opportunity to direct drivers to their own establishments.

However, it wasn’t until 1915 that the first stop sign showed up in Detroit. This was a year after the first electric traffic signal went up in Cleveland. Over time, more and more signs were implemented on the road. In 1922, representatives from states like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana went all over the country to come up with ideas for uniform signs and street markings. They were determined to generate a system that connected unique shapes to very specific messages. For instance, an octagon would signal a stop sign, while a diamond would mean curve ahead. By matching the shapes to the messages, these signs would be a lot more helpful at night. Drivers could actually identify the shapes before reading the words on the sign.

In the past, all traffic signs featured black text on a white background. These US road signs were 2 square feet in size. With all these US road signs being the same color, it started to get confusing. In 1948, the United States government made a central effort to both standardize and simplify each sign. While most people think of stop signs as being red, that wasn’t always the case. Originally, stop signs were black and white. After this effort, stop signs transitioned into being yellow on red. As a new fade-resistant material was created, stop signs finally took on the white on red look that we have come to expect of them today.

While there are companies all over that specialize in manufacturing these new types of US road signs, none is as prominent as Zumar. They’re leaders in this field, as they produce high-quality U.S. road signs and deliver excellent customer service in the process. Some of the road signs in particular they manufacture are:

  • Regulator Signs
  • Warning Signs
  • School Signs
  • Construction Signs
  • Park & Recreation Signs
  • Interstate Signs
  • Guard Signs
  • OSHA Signs
  • Custom Signs

Over the years, U.S. road signs have evolved and developed, greatly, since they first came about. In the beginning, they were few and far between. Now, it’s impossible to go onto any road without seeing a road sign directing drivers where they need to go and how they need to drive. Zumar is proud to be the premier name in U.S. road sign manufacturing. We encourage you to contact us today for all of your road sign needs.

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