Good Ol’ Days

The World’s First Traffic Light


Designed by railway signalling engineer JP Knight, the world’s first traffic signal was installed outside of the Houses of Parliament in 1868. The signal was gas powered and manually operated by a police officer and was the precursor of traffic lights in use around the world today. Today, the intersection has a plaque commemorating this momentous event. However, not mentioned on this plaque is that the signal had to be taken down barely a year later, after it exploded and killed the poor policeman who was charged with operating it at the time. This accident set the traffic signals cause back over safety concerns until the development of electric signals in 1912.