Willis Lamm's
Traffic Signal Collection

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  Darley Simplex D-200
"Twelve bulb" 4-way signal

The Darley D-200 was an evolution of the long running C-811 3-bulb signal. The D-200 used nearly all of the same hardware as the C-811 except that it had a separate bulb behind every lens. By World War II many states required that new traffic signals have each lens independently lighted. While Darley still offered its familiar C-811 3-bulb signal, the D-200 provided a simple but reliable signal that met the requirements of every state.

Two advantages came with a 12 bulb signal. All four directions could have red at the top and green at the bottom. Also Darley was able to offer a "split amber" option, where the amber lights only lit up on sides where the signal was changing from green to red. Since the on-board controller only had four contacts, yellow indications always overlapped the green indications.

Breaking the signal down for restoring
Dressing up the reflectors with aluminum paint
The lenses out of the dish washer
Some features in this signal suggest that it was manufactured around World War II. The most predominant feature was the use of Kopp TL-4627 lenses. The 4627s were a "color improved" version of the original Kopp No. 27 diamond pattern lens. They were only produced for a short while, superseded by the Kopp 66 / 4666 diamond pattern lens.

What is unclear at this point is whether Darley used the Kopp lenses because their regular supply of traditional "orange peel" lenses was interrupted by war production or whether Darley had switched to the more ITE compliant Kopp lenses for use in their "National Standard" traffic signal.

How the signal looked coming in.
New fabric coated wiring.
Controller with fiberboard cams.
Final test before installing portholes.

Darley signals were somewhat plain looking. However their practical simplicity, durability and ease of repair without having to special order parts made them extremely popular in thousands of small towns that needed simple stand-alone internally controlled signals at simple intersections. In 1944 Darley boasted that their self regulated fixed 4-way signals were the most popular in America, with the 3 bulb model selling for $87.50 complete and the 12 bulb model starting out at $99.95.

I should mention that this signal was very easy to restore because it had been kept for years by a retired traffic engineer who appreciated its value and stored it in a dry garage. Signals are designed to be weather tight when correctly installed and regularly serviced. Unrestored valuable pieces should be kept out of damaging weather. View the catalog page.

"In service" hanging in the collection.

To learn more about the Darley "split amber" sequence and to see videos, please click here.

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