November 20, 2017 Mellisa McColley



At a time of year when road crews are busy improving Florida’s highways and roads, it’s hard to imagine a world without traffic safety cones.  There was such a time in the 1940s, as roads and automobile traffic spread across the nation. Engineers needed a device to keep traffic merging safely and to protect those building roads.

In 1940, Charles D. Scanlon, a Los Angeles street department painter designed a “safety marker” to keep cars away from painted lines on city roads, according to the Traffic Safety Store.  Before Scanlon’s bright-orange idea, traffic markers were wooden barriers that could damage vehicles and were hard to move and store. By 1947, Interstate Rubber Products Corp. began manufacturing traffic cones of molded rubber sheets.

Highway traffic cones are 18 to 28 inches tall, according to standards set by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  Florida Construction Workers use thousands of cones for highway projects and at crashes to create tapered lane closures. All thanks to Charles D. Scanlon, father of traffic cone.

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