Who Invented the Highway Traffic Lights? Evan J. McIlraith Hopetown

Who Invented the Highway Traffic Lights? Evan J. McIlraith Hopetown


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The great American idea is “I am going to do what I want and the hell with the other fellow.” Any skilled engineer can prepare the [traffic control] plan … but building the groundwork is a mansized job.

Evan J. McIlraith, 1946

The Surface Lines Engineering Department was reorganized by Evan J. McIlraith, a mechanical engineer with long mass transit experience in Seattle and Philadelphia. McIlraith and the engineers working with him were given a free hand to explore all matters relating to the company’s operations. Since street traffic constituted a very major part of the difficulty confronting the CSL’s operation, the engineers concentrated much attention on the chaos in the Loop and elsewhere. They lobbied for and provided statistical evidence in support of improved traffic regulation and approached the problem of signal light timing from their own perspective



Photo- Laurie Yuill

November 2, 1894 – One of the old landmarks is gone from the township of Darling in the
person of James McIlraith who died at midnight on Saturday, 20th October after little more than a day’s illness caused by injuries from falling while he was running after a sheep in his orchard. The injuries sustained were of such a nature that little could be done beyond allaying the pain and he gradually sank until he died just 36 hours from the time of the accident.


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

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And That’s the Way it Was….

The Inventor’s of Carleton Place –Robert Metcalf

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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