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Catseye road marking

a guide for night time drivers North East,

A catseye embedded in cement in the middle of a road.
Catseye in the middle of the road. Freefoto.com

The inventor of 'catseye' roadstud was Percy Shaw (1890-1976) of Halifax, West Yorkshire. The inspiration for this invention struck Percy when the tram lines near his home were decommissioned and the tracks removed. He realised that he, and most of the other road users in the area, had subconsciously been using the polished strips of steel as a navigation aid. 

Legend states that a chance encounter with a cat inspired the solution, and the name, and Shaw’s experience of precision engineering allowed him to produce the first catseye. With this new invention, he established the firm Reflective Roadstuds Ltd. Although they were slow to take-off, blackouts during the Second World War encouraged widespread installation of catseyes, which were later endorsed by the UK government, and exported across the world.

The original catseyes consisted of two pairs of reflective glass spheres set into a white rubber dome, mounted in a cast iron housing, designed to mark the centre of the road, with one pair of catseyes showing in each direction. A single-ended form has become widely used in other colours at road margins and as lane dividers. 

Science Museum

Decade
Type
Engineering,
Region
North East
Location
Halifax, Yorkshire
Key Individuals
Percy Shaw,