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Stop Signs Used To Be Yellow, More Recently Than You Think

In the world of signals, it’s an undisputed fact that a red stop sign means stop, but it wasn’t always that way. Sixty-six years ago the octagonal traffic sign was yellow, with the word STOP in black letters. It wasn’t until 1954 that the stop sign became the bright red color with white letters that we know today. In 1922 the highway department chose a yellow design with black letters, figuring the colors would grab drivers’ attention. Yellow wasn’t their first choice, though. They wanted red, since red meant “stop” on electric signals that were invented in 1912, but there was no red dye at that time that wouldn’t fade over time. In 1954, sign makers began using a fade-resistant porcelain enamel, and the stop sign was changed to red with white letters.