3 Interesting Facts About Vintage Street Signs

3 Interesting Facts About Vintage Street Signs

Do you give much thought to street signs? Vintage street signs are lovely, but they have more history than you think. Here are 3 facts about vintage street signs.

Most of us look at street signs in order to determine what the current rules of the roads are. Street signs are designed to keep us safe.

They tell us if we’re on a one-way street, when to stop, and how fast we’re allowed to travel. But most of us probably haven’t taken a few moments to think about the history of street signs.

But like many items, vintage street signs have become valuable as a collector’s item. Some American signs are worth hundreds of dollars.

To help you understand why antique road signs are worth so much, keep reading to learn three facts about its rich history.

1. The Beginning Of Vintage Street Signs

Let’s take a look at the most vintage road signs of all, the first road signs that were created. It all began in ancient Rome when they began paving new roads to celebrate their military triumphs.

The Caesars commanded the construction of 4,400-pound stone markers which were called milestones. To help travelers find their way, these antique road signs were numbered and placed strategically along the impressive 62,000 miles of roads.

These milestones showed how far away Rome was and relayed other pertinent information to weary travelers. There were even rest stops and service stations along the way.

There was even a zero point located in the central forum of Rome’s capital called the Millarium Aureum. It marked the beginning of all roads. It’s why the phrase, “all roads lead to Rome” stems from.

This simple system remained in place until automobiles were invented. After that, a better system was called for.

2. The History Of Automobile Clubs And Vintage Traffic Signs

One thing you’ll notice when you visit the American Sign Museum in Ohio is that the first American street signs did not all look alike. There is a reason why each vintage stop sign looks a little different.

That’s because up until 1918, it was automobile clubs that put up street signs to help drivers navigate the roads safely. And each automobile club had their own thoughts on what the signs should look like.

In fact, it became a bit of a competition. Which is also why it didn’t work. There were too many different signs and it confused the drivers.

Finally, the state of Wisconsin realized they needed to intervene at both the state and federal level to standardize street signs. Up until then, it wasn’t uncommon to see as many as 11 different types of decorative sign posts in one area.

3. Facts About The Vintage Stop Sign

Stop signs first came into use in Detroit in 1915. And they weren’t octagon shaped or even red.

You’ll actually find an antique stop sign is probably white with black lettering. The idea stemmed from wanting to use both shapes and colors to emphasize how important the information was.

It was recommended using circular signs for dangerous situations. Using black writing on a yellow background with a diamond-shaped sign told drivers to use caution.

Triangular signs also indicate danger. In 1927, the AASHO published the first Manual and Specifications for the Manufacture, Display, and Erection of US Standard Road Markers and Signs to set standards.

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