Glass prism to ease seeing the traffic signal above?


#1

Back in the 50’s, was there a prism device which attached to the steering wheel which enabled the driver to see a traffic signal overhead or suspended in the middle of the intersection?
Or am I mistaking the steering wheel turning aid, whatever it’s called, for that? (It attached to the steering wheel to allow it to be smoothly turned with one hand.)
Thank you.


#2

Don’t know about the prism but the steering wheel spinner or tractor knob where popular back in the days of standard steering. Most had the kind with the scantily clad beauties on them. I’m looking for one for my lawn mower that the wife would never see.


#3
Most had the kind with the scantily clad beauties on them.
I carefully cut out a photo from a friend's Playboy magazine and inserted the disk beneath the telephone's rotary dial where the number appeared. Her face looked so much like my girlfriend!

#4

I remember a convex clear plastic lens which attached to the window with a suction cup which allowed one to look through the lens and view the overhead traffic signals. I think that some cars had them attached with a bracket to the dashboard. I remember seeing this lens in a 1953 Pontiac. In fact, it may have been a factory option. These lens were really needed in cars with outside sun visors.


#5

My uncle had the windshield one and it worked well.


#6

I wasn’t dirving in the 1950’s but I have seen traffic light viewers at car shows.


#7

My dad had a magnetic one that attached near the sun visor, back when the strip above the windshield was steel. It was useful.


#8

Triedaq is correct about a device of this type having been a factory option on the Pontiacs of the early '50s.
If these devices still exist, the OP should be able to get one from J.C. Whitney–assuming that they still exist.


#9

“Traffic light viewers” are all over the internet from Amazon to eBay. Just google it.


#10

Thank you, all.
Now our traffic signals are mounted on the opposite side of the crosstreet. So no need.


#11

I believe the thing on the steering wheel is called a suicide knob by some(I’ve never heard of it called anything else). Real name is Brodie Knob


#12

In JC Whitney they are called “steering wheel spinners”. I’ve got an old book though so don’t know if they still sell them. Farm stores do for tractors but they are the ugly wooden ones. Never heard of suicide knobs, although I suppose in the old cars in a crash, it would cause some injury to the chest area as you flew through the windshield or hit the metal dash.


#13

The Brodie knob or “suicide knob” was useful in the days before power steering. It made easy to turn the steering wheel by grabbing the knob and cranking. This made parallel parking easier. The more expensive Brodie knobs could be flipped out of the way. I think that they were called suicide knobs because one could catch a sleeve on the knob and then jerk the car off course. The flip away Brodie knob lessened this possibility.


#14

Not to mention, in a wreck, those knobs could cause serious injury if they’re in the right spot; doubly so with a non collapsible steering column


#15

I believe they’ve been outlawed in our state.