Willis Lamm's
Traffic Signal Collection

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  Darley Simplex C-810
"Two bulb" 4-way signal

In 1912 Lester Wire of the Salt Lake City traffic police built a two color electric traffic signal. It was controlled by the traffic policeman on duty and aided motorists in understing the traffic policeman's directions.

In 1914 the American Traffic Signal Company patented a two color traffic signal, the first being installed in Cleveland, OH. Shortly afterwards a number of manufacturers designed and built two color traffic signals, and also three color signals based on Detroit Traffic Superintendent William Potts' design. While early signals were manually controlled by traffic officers, before too long manufacturers were producing automatic or "self regulated" stop and go signals.

A very common early signal was the W. S. Darley & Co. C-810 two color traffic signal. It had a simple two circuit controller installed in the floor of the signal made by Reynolds Time-O-Matic. The signal consisted of two chambers, each chamber lit by a single bulb. The bulb shone in all four directions necessitating the cross street lenses to be arranged in opposite order from the main street lenses. It was a simple and inexpensive signal that any town could afford.

The catalog price for this signal was less than $70.00.

  Restoring the Signal

Disassembled for stripping and painting.
Reynolds Time-O-Matic controller.
The older Darley signals were hand made. Each bolt and screw hole was drilled and tapped to correspond with the holes drilled into whatever pieces were fitted together. Therefore most of these signals will only go back together one way. When disassembling these signals it is important to stamp or engrave numbers onto the inside of each part so all the holes will line up when reassembling the signal.

Disassembled for stripping and painting.
Testing new fabric coated wire.
The C-810 displayed next to the C-811.
Replacement Leviton "art deco" socket.
Components reassembled.
1937 Parade photo, Hazard, KY.

View a video of the signal operation on Youtube

May, 2013 Update

In May, 2003 I stumbled upon some lettered lenses in an unrelated signal that appeared to be genuine Gillinger Brothers (GB) lettered lenses that were used in 1930s Darley C-810s. The lettered lenses were an option then. In looking at old photos and films, the letters were never painted in the GB lenses but they could be distinguished, as shown in this circa 1934 image. Now the challenge will be to come up with a complete set!

Continue to C-811 3-Bulb Signal

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