Today in History: August 5

The first traffic light was installed in London in December 1868 outside Parliament. It used wooden arms to indicate stop and go during the day and gas lights (red and green) for nighttime use. It was manually operated, and it only lasted a month as the rig exploded in January 1869 and killed the police officer who was operating it that day.

A police officer in Salt Lake City, Utah, is credited with inventing the electric traffic light in 1912, but no traffic control system—no electric traffic control system—was installed until August 5, 1914, one hundred and two years ago today, at the busy intersection of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.

James Hoge is credited with the invention, which also used red and green signals, which had been standard “stop” and “go” colors for many years, and also employed a buzzer to warn when a change was coming up. It was manually controlled.

Hoge received U.S. patent 1,251,666 for his “Municipal Traffic Control System” in 1918. It featured four pairs of red and green lights that served as stop-go indicators, each mounted on a corner post.

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The Beatles released the album Revolver in the United Kingdom fifty years ago today.

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It is believed that on this date in 1305, Sir John de Menteith of Ruskie betrayed the fighter for Scottish independence William Wallace to English soldiers at a spot called Robroyston near Glasgow. Wallace was taken as prisoner to Westminster, tried, found guilty—although he argued that he could not be guilty of treason as he did not recognize King Edward as his king—and executed in a notoriously bloodthirsty way.

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Harold Gray’s comic strip Little Orphan Annie made its debut in the New York Daily News on this date in 1924.

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Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Nationalist Party, was founded on this date in 1925.

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Marilyn Monroe died 54 years ago today. Richard Burton died on this date in 1984. Sir Alec Guinness died 16 years ago today.

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Guy de Maupassant was born on this date in 1850. Joseph Merrick was born on this date in 1862. John Huston was born on this date in 1906. Selma Diamond was born on this date in 1920. Neil Armstrong was born on this date in 1930. Adam Yauch was born on this date in 1964.

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Wendell Berry is 82 today. John Saxon is 81. Ja’net Dubois is 71. Loni Anderson is 71. Maureen McCormick (“Marcia!”) is 60. Patrick Ewing is 54.

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One comment

  1. loisajay · August 5, 2016

    wow. That long ago for Marilyn….


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