Willis Lamm's
Traffic Signal Collection

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  Marbelite LPS-20
Pedestrian Signal

The first pedestrian signals were adaptations of early traffic signals. A fourth section would be installed on a traffic signal head with a lens masked to read "WALK," or separate two-section traffic signals were installed specifically for pedestrians with round "WAIT" and "WALK" lenses. Some companies such as Crouse-Hinds and Southern Signals produced neon signs that displayed "DONT WALK" and "WALK" instead of "WAIT" and "WALK," the idea being that "DONT WALK" was more clearly distinguishable from "WALK" across wider streets, especially for people with poor vision.

Neon was expensive so in the late 1950s Lawrence Lawton designed and patented a practical incandescent multi-word, multi-colored pedestrian signal. Marbelite produced the signal as its model LPS-20 "Lawdescent Lite."

Side view of the signal housing.
"WALK" indication.

The LPS-20 was manufactured with clear ripple glass lettered lenses that were illuminated colored bulbs. Typical colors used were either red "WAIT" and green "WALK," or Portland orange "WAIT" and white "WALK."

A unique feature of this signal and a few others that were manufactured like it was that the red bulbs were special 60 or 65 volt bulbs as compared with conventional 120 volt bulbs, and they were wired in series. The idea here was that if either bulb burned out, both would go dark. That way if the "DONT" bulb failed, the signal wouldn't light only with a red "WALK" indication.

Back view of housing.
Red lamps lit.
Colored bulb layout.
Green lamps lit.

The details of the lenses in this signal can be better viewed if you click on an image (above) and bring up a larger copy. The LPS-20 signal later came with optional fiberglass lenses that were more vandal resistant.

This particular signal came from New York City (Brooklyn, I'm told) and it still had the NYC property decal inside.

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