Me and MTL

Who is this guy? A traffic light collection? Really?

A signal I'd like to add to my collection

It’s Me and Mini Me next to an old Acme Semaphore signal in Walt Disney World.

Thanks for visiting the official website for my collection of traffic lights – Stop lights, stop signals, red lights, whatever you’d like to call them. Odd hobby? Yes. I admit it. Everyone has some sort of “thing” that they’re into and collect. For some people, it’s coins. For others, it’s books, salt & pepper shakers, or old computers. I collect traffic lights.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with traffic lights and I wanted one badly. I etched images of them into furniture (ask my parents about the redwood patio furniture), I drew pictures of them with permanent marker (ask my parents about the basement stairs), I drew them on paper, I molded them out of clay, I folded them from cardboard, I tried every conceivable way to “build” a traffic light with the materials I had when I was a kid.

When I was about four years old, my father built a traffic light night light for me. It was a “fixed four-way”, about 20 inches tall, and constructed of quarter-inch particle board with round holes cut out for the lights. It used red, yellow, and green gels stuck to the inside of the holes for the lenses and was lit by two night lights, each affixed to the top and bottom of the inside with electrical tape. Two extension cords, which powered the lights, ran down a chain from which it hung from the ceiling. I manually changed the phase of the light by plugging/unplugging the extension cords. Guess when I got my first taste of 120 volts running through my fingers.

Then one day when I was about 9 years old, a vendor at the Chester Flea Market had a large, full-blown traffic light sitting out for sale. My jaw just about hit the dirt. At the end of the day my Dad haggled the guy down from $80 to $45. I got my first real traffic light. It came connected to a home-made controller box in which a rotating disc inside tripped roller switches that allowed the signal to run through a normal sequence. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. After owning this signal for about 5 years or so, gravity took its toll on it when it tipped over and hit the concrete floor, smashing the red lens. This was before eBay or the internet, so I had no clue where to get a replacement lens. I sold it at our next garage sale for $30. Sigh.

Years later, and thanks to eBay and Craigslist, my enthusiasm re-emerged with hard-to-find, rare, and odd-ball signals of all sorts popping up from basements, attics, and barns all over the world. My collection continues to grow, much to the chagrin of my wife, but she knows I enjoy it and lovingly tolerates my hobby, however odd it is.

If you have any questions about my collection or would like to offer some insight or expertise about one of my signals, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you also collect traffic signals and would like your website linked to from mine, let me know. Contact me at info@MyTrafficLights.com

As for my site, the navigation at the top of each page breaks down my collection into categories. They are:

Real – The real-deal signals that performed duty in the real world.

Toys – Loved them as a kid and still do. Games, accessories, and more.

Wear – Anything that you could don or keep with you for that stylish night out on the town.

Décor – Generally, anything decorative you’d find around the home or office.

Media – Audio and video that showcase traffic signals in some way.

Links – Surprisingly, and thankfully, there are others who share a fascination with traffic lights. If you have your own website relating to the collecting, history, preservation, or general interest in traffic lights or signs, let me know. I’d be happy to add you.

Blog – There’s more to traffic lights than what I have in my collection. Here’s where I ramble on about signals I’ve seen in the wild, discussions about signals that others have asked me about, along with some signal history and random musings.

More traffic lights will be added as time creeps along, so check back some time. You never know when I might obtain a new signal. I’m sure you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting in anticipation.

Enjoy!
Chris