One of the all time classic manufacturers of the 1930s - 60s traffic signal era was Crouse-Hinds. Their art deco style signals remained ornate while many other manufacturers followed more utilitarian designs. The Crouse-Hinds signals were heavy and noted for their styling.
The most popular styles with collectors are the Type D and related DT. Both types used the same casting, however the DT (dust tight) used an improved lens gasket that helped reduce the amount of dust and moisture that would get inside and cloud the reflector.
Around 1959, the art deco signal designs were replaced with the more streamlined and practical Type M, the last of Crouse-Hinds' fixed four ways. The later Type R and Crouse-Hinds "knock-off" poly signals (made by Chapel Hill) were only produced in single faced configurations.
|TYPE D / DT ART DECO SIGNALS|
The first Crouse-Hinds signals were similar to other early manufacturers. They were ornate and were what we call "porthole" design. The lenses and lens collars looked like portholes and had to be removed to access lamp bulbs for replacement. On December 1, 1936, The Crouse-Hinds catalog showed a new Type D design that incorporated a full size door that had a braided cotton seal. The lens was held by four clips and a cork gasket sealed the space between the lens and the door. The design wasn't perfect so the door was later redesigned to allow for a rubber gasket to go around the edge of the lens, seal the space between the lens and the door and also seal the space between the lens and the reflector.
The Types D and DT came in a couple of visor configurations. The stock visor was a cap or cutaway visor cast as part of the door however doors were produced with mounting collars for tunnel or full round visors. Cutaway visors were also available for use on doors with mounting collars. The factory color was Hunter Green.
While lettered (command) lenses were still available, the predominant Crouse-Hinds Type D and DT lenses were known as smiley lenses. Since most signals were mounted overhead, the smiley refractors would divert part of the light in a more downward direction for easier viewing by pedestrians while most of the light from the lens would still be directed horizontally toward oncoming traffic. The earlier "large bead" smiley lenses are quite valuable.
The last run of DT signals had Crouse-Hinds and Syracuse, NY cast into the upper area of the door.
Early Type D beacon with down light