Last week, Google reminded the Internet of one form of technology that many of us take for granted. In celebration of the 101 anniversary of the very first one installed, August 5th’s Google Doodle featured a commemoration of the world’s first electric traffic light. It wasn’t located on the busy streets of New York, Chicago, or any other major east coast city at the time. The first electric traffic light was found at the corner of 105th Street and Euclid Avenue of Cleveland, Ohio. While the idea of using lights to regulate traffic wasn’t new at the time, the new electric light improved on a less than effective system.
Image Source: TIME
“It wasn’t the first time that people had tried to find alternatives to traffic regulation, though. While gas-lit traffic signals were installed in the 19th century in the U.K., they often proved ineffective — especially since they were known to spontaneously explode. The Doodle shows the jerky and chaotic traffic flow of a century past — a feature intentionally added by illustrator Nate Swinehart, who wanted to outline that the yellow light wasn’t introduced until even later to regulate traffic flow more effectively.”