Three signal traffic light

A 1923 invention that improved roadway safety

Print Page

Originally located close to the county courthouse at the intersection of State Highway 22 and State Highway 81 in Hillsboro, this traffic light was installed and maintained by the City of Hillsboro until 1967.

In the earliest days of the automobile, navigating America's roads was a chaotic experience, with pedestrians, bicycles, horses, and streetcars all competing with motor vehicles for right of way. Traffic lights first began appearing at intersections in the United States in the 1910s. The first traffic lights only offered stop (red) and go (green), giving drivers no time to react when the light changed, leading to many collisions. The first three-light traffic signal was patented in 1923 by African American inventor Garrett Morgan. The addition of the yellow light gave drivers the warning they needed to prepare for traffic to stop.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Three signal traffic light Artifact from Hillsboro
Share Your Story

Make your mark on Texas History

Share Your Story
Browse All Stories

Read stories from people across Texas

Browse All Stories