My name is Tony. I live in Westmoreland (Rome) New York and have lived in the Utica/Rome area pretty much most of my life.
I have loved traffic lights since I was a kid. Always liked looking at them and amazed at how they work. Growing up in Central New York near Utica, I had many opportunities to see traffic lights. Show me a picture of an old traffic light in the Utica/Rome area, and I could tell you exactly what intersection it was. I guess that would be called a trafficgraphic memory or something.
My first traffic light was built by my uncle and it was a Christmas gift. You can see it in front of the 19″ console TV pictured below. It was a wood box with 3 holes, 3 lights with pull chains on the back, and coffee can lids I believe in red, yellow and green for the lenses.
I built one with my dad. A 4 sided wooden one complete with cardboard visors I put on it. It was crude, but hey, it was a traffic light. Haven’t found a photo of that one yet.
Utica, NY was home to 100’s of traffic signal intersections. Many were made by Crouse Hinds which were manufactured in nearby Syracuse, NY. This is why they are my favorite signal to collect.
There still are many signalized intersections here, though in the past 10 years, with the declining population, many signals were taken down. Unfortunately, many of them, some installed pre-1960’s were stored away by the city, and eventually scrapped. (insert tears here)
Thankfully, some of Utica’s classic signals still are up and running. Many, up until 2017 had their original electromechanical controllers with them also. Some installed as early as the late 1940’s.
During 2017, Utica underwent a “modernization” ( insert tears again here) of many intersections and replaced approximately 35 controllers, some installed in the late 1950’s with new electronic ones. I’ve gotten lucky and now got 2 1940’s Utica Mechanical Controllers. Both are Crouse Hinds GS Type controllers originally installed in Downtown Utica.
As I’ve grown older, I have been able to purchase old traffic signals. Who would have thought you could actually buy them. I’ve had some since 2014 and my collection has been growing ever since. I currently have around
12 39 50+ signals, counting each side of the many 4 sided once I have as 4 lights, many which are older than me. I tell people I “collect traffic lights” and usually get a confused look. Thankfully I’m a member of a couple of Facebook groups and forums with guys just like me than enjoy collecting them.
I’m always on the lookout for something new, well old really, to possibly purchase. Generally signals from the 1930’s to 1960’s interest me. Thats what I grew up seeing in my childhood and they always fascinated me.
I’ve also met a lot of guys just like me. Some people collect baseball cards, cars, football memorabilia, but these guys collect old traffic signals. They are a part of the early history of many cities like Utica and it is a shame when many of them end up on the scrap heap. They dont make them like those anymore and many of the companies have ceased to exist.
I’ve had signals in the garage, dining room, back yard and even in the kitchen. Nothing in the bedroom yet, since that is upstairs. They’re all over pretty much.
I will chronicle my collection on this site, along with showing some of the Utica/Rome area’s classic traffic signals which are still around. Click on any of the menu bar items on the site, pardon any miss-spellings of mine, and enjoy reading!
I do post videos to YouTube also. There’s a mix of traffic signal stuff, my dogs and other odd things. Here’s a link to it.
You can also follow me on social media:
Any questions or if you have any old signals you would like to have re homed, please feel free to contact me. If you have photos, thats always a plus too!
Thanks for visiting the site!!
I think you might appreciate this (if you don’t already):
I go to quite a few garage sales in the summer,
Tony, and will keep your hobby in mind should I happen to see any old traffic signals!
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I have a cast iron light that spells STOP vertically but have never seen another it is made by us steel and has visors I would like to know value
If you go to the contact page here, maybe you can give me a bit more info and maybe some photos to help determine that.
I have a What I think is a Crouse Hinds Three bulb traffic signal and controller. I have most of the lenses intact. Both reds d green on both top and bottom. Yellow in the middle. It’s in reallygood shape. Came from a little town on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Any ideas on who might want it or it’s worth? I have a photo. Do t know how to post.
If you’d like, shoot me an email from the contact page here on the sire and I can take a look at it. I was just in Maryland last weekend too 🙂
I have this old traffic light on its own stand. It’s a 2 piece light. I’m in Phoenix. I want to sell it. What is it worth? I’d like to send you a photo if I could.
If you’d like to send me a photo, use the contact form Cindy and i’ll reply with my address.
I have a traffic light with just green….do you think it has a value…???good shape
That depends on how old it is, what brand and what shape it’s in. If you’d like to send me some photos, look at the contact page as to how to do that.
Have you seen the traffic lights in Syracuse ( near a big park; can’t remember the name but my son ran there for a cross country meet) that has the red and green reversed!? Not for sale ( yet, anyway!) but interesting to see! If not familiar- which I doubt, with your love of signals!- I can dig up the pucs and info!
Yes, that signal is located on Tipperary Hill and is pretty famous for being an “upside down” signal. I’ve visited it a few times over the past few years. Really cool light.