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Trafficator in the "on" position

Trafficators are semaphore signals which, when operated, protrude from the bodywork of a motor vehicle to indicate its intention to turn in the direction indicated by the pointing signal. Trafficators are often located at the door pillar.


They first appeared in the 1900s when they were actuated either mechanically or pneumatically. In 1908 Alfredo Barrachini in Rome had added electric lights inside the arms that turned on as they extended but operation was still by a cable system. Electric operation came in 1918 when the Naillik Motor Signal Company of Boston added electric motor drive. This system was superseded by two French inventors, Gustave Deneef and Maurice Boisson, who used a linear solenoid in 1923. The final complete system came in 1927 when Berlin-based Max Ruhl and Ernst Neuman combined internal illumination and solenoid operation.

The shape of the Trafficator arm is closely based upon the shape of the semaphore signal arm used by the Royal Bavarian Railway beginning in 1890. The only difference from the railway arm is that it is halved down it's length so as to flushly fit with the vehicle's exterior.

They were common on vehicles until the introduction of the flashing amber or red indicators at or near the corners of the vehicle (and often along the sides as well). They have been increasingly rare since the 1950s, as ever-tightening legislation has prescribed the need for the modern type of flashing signal. Many historic vehicles that are used on today's roads have had their trafficators supplemented with modern indicators to aid visibility and to meet legislative requirements.


  • The Motor Car — its evolution and engineering development. John Day. Bosch Ltd., 1975. ISBN-0 00 435016 2
A motor vehicle is a machine which incorporates a (sometimes known as an engine), and which is used for transportation. The internal combustion engine is the most common motor choice, although electric motors or other types are sometimes used.
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An A-pillar is a name applied by car stylists and enthusiasts to the shaft of material that supports the windshield (windscreen) on either of the windshield frame sides. By denoting this structural member as the A-pillar, and each successive vertical support in the greenhouse
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Comune di Roma

Nickname: "The Eternal City"
Motto: "Senatus Populusque Romanus" (SPQR)   (Latin)
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Boston, Massachusetts

Nickname: Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe), The Cradle of Liberty, City on the Hill, Athens of America
Location in Suffolk County in Massachusetts, USA
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Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
"La Marseillaise"

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A solenoid is a 3-dimensional coil.

In physics, the term solenoid refers to a loop of wire, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a magnetic field when an electrical current is passed through it.
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Flag Coat of arms

Location of Berlin within Germany / EU

Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
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driving beam, and this terminology is still found in international ECE Regulations, which do not distinguish between a vehicle's primary (mandatory) and auxiliary (optional) upper/driving beam lamps.
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International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. The ISBN system was created in the United Kingdom, in 1966, by the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith.
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