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Happy 100th Birthday to the World's First Patented Electric Traffic Light

A design based on James Hoge's creation debuted in Cleveland on August 5, 1914.
A look at traffic in Detroit shortly after Cleveland got its first electric signal.
A look at traffic in Detroit shortly after Cleveland got its first electric signal.Library of Congress

A century ago today, drivers on East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland were first treated to one of the most exciting traffic innovations of the time—an electric traffic light.

Installed by the American Traffic Signal Company on August 5, 1914, the technological innovation let booth attendants control the red and green lights at each corner of the intersection. To warn everyone of a signal change, a buzzer would go off before the color switch. When the light was red, the sign would say STOP. When green, it read PROCEED.