In late 1950's did grandfather have a kind of "prism" on the dash? To see traffic signals?


#1

He also had a knob on the steering wheel.

Using that knob, he was able to make very comfortable turns by somehow braking and turning the car and then intentionally turning the steering wheel back to neutral while accelerating. (Not just letting the wheel straighten on it own.) Each turn was an enjoyable experience!


#2

Yes, companies like J.C. Whitney did sell devices that were called…Traffic Light Spotters…or something to that effect.

Mounted on a suction cup near the top of the windshield, it allowed a stationary driver to see when an overhead traffic light changed, rather than having to crane his neck to see the light. Windshields were pretty small in those days, after all…

The knob on the steering wheel was definitely helpful, back in the days of no power steering for most folks. These knobs were nicknamed Suicide Knobs because when an unbelted driver was thrown into one of these knobs during a collision, it had a tendency to cause great damage to the sternum, or the ribs, or internal organs, depending on where it impacted the driver’s body. Back in the days of safety inspections, in my state you would fail the inspection if one of those knobs was found on your steering wheel.


#3

Thank you. Interesting!
Traffic signals are now mostly on the far side of the road to be moreasily seen.

My senior friend just said they were called “Necker Knobs” so you could keep arm around girlfriend and still steer.

Wish that I could accomplish those enjoyable turns that my grandfather made.


#4

The knobs are illegal in some areas. Make sure your state allows them before buying one.


#5

Suicide knobs are legal in 49 states, and probably legal in the last one. Washington doesn’t specifically outlaw them but does say you can’t attach stuff that catches your clothing to the steering wheel.


#6

my dad had a suicide knob on his truck near the end of his life when his shoulders didn t allow him to operate manual steering very well.

it was out of necessity not choice, they are dangerous.

you also have to hold the knob , as the wheels straighten after turning , out of necessity, not because the wheel won t straighten on it s own.

if you just let the wheel spin back to straight the knob will bang the heck out of any appendage that happens to get in its way.

better to just hold the knob and follow it…


#7

Back in those days there weren’t tinted windshields either so the visors were common. This further restricted being able to see a traffic light up above. Everybody had the steering knobs on their wheels though, just like the fuzzy dice. I’m not sure if it was for function so much as the bathing beauties that were depicted on them though.


#8

I loved my steering wheel knob on my 1968 Dodge van. Made life soooo much easier.

Back in the days of yore, a single traffic light was hung right at the middle of the intersection on the wires spanning corner to corner.A single light fixture with bulbs facing all four directions, that placement could leave it hard to see, hence the prizms.
These days most trafic lights are mounted on an arm way over on the far side of the intersection allowing much better visibility without the need for the prizm.


#9

Cars in the old days also required much more turn of the wheel to make a corner. Power assisted rack & pinion steering requires far less.

Suicide knobs are still sold, and still used on offroad vehicles like old tractors and other farm equipment where the steering gear ratios are still high.


#10

I can’t imagine operating a manual shift fork lift without a suicide knob, left your right hand free to shift and tilt and up/down levers.
My son in law’s 50 Chrysler has a strange looking drivers side mirror, It is a round mirror with a stalk coming out of it slanting to the rear of the car and a small round forward facing mirror,
It was called a pass forward and it allowed you to see what was coming the other way on a two or three lane road so you could pass. If you didn’t have this you would have to pullout to see what was coming and then keep ducking in if it wasn’t safe.
Yes, we did used to have 3 lane roads, dangerous?, you bet. The center lane could be used for passing in either direction at the same time and in the same place.


#11

oldtimer 11: We still have 3 lane roads with a continuous left turn lane being the 3rd. Fortunately I have only witnessed 2 “idgits” using it to pass everyone and be first at the red light. There are so many things wrong with this idiotic behavior. Unsuspecting drivers pulling into the lane using it for its intended purpose and drivers exiting a parking lot waiting in the center lane for traffic to clear. I remember the old 3 lanes but I haven’t seen one in a long time.


#12

Those dangerous 3-lane roads were two-lane highways (40 mph speed limits or greater) which had a middle passing lane for both directions. Worked well except when opposing drivers chose to pass at the same time.

Coldorado has 3-lane highways where uphill is two lanes and one downhill lane.
But downhill drivers may descend in uphill lane #1 to pass slow descending trucks, flat landers and Texans.
A black-on-white regulatory sign for uphill drivers reads: KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS
This helps keep uphill lane #1 open for passing downhill drivers.
My wife feels un at ease when we are on the wrong side of the yellow line descending in uphill lane #1.


#13
But downhill drivers may descend in uphill lane #1 to pass slow descending trucks, flat landers and Texans.

What is it about Colorado’s well known hostility towards Texans anyway? It’s one of the reasons I book a flight to SLC and ski at Alta, well that and more reasonable lift tickets.


#14

^ My best friend is Texass. We are always chiding one another.
If you stretched Coldorados mountains out, it would be as big as Texas.


#15

Well, if you took all the areas where there is absolutely nothing out of Texas, it would probably be about the size of Colorado.


#16

Boy, that brings back memories.
Center lane was a passing lane and if you needed to get around you better make sure an oncoming driver didn’t already occupy that real estate.


#17

^ I never had a problem with them.
I moved close to the lane with lefturn signal operating so opposing drivers could easily see my intention. Then move out and pass with turn signal still flashing, then righturn signal and move back in.


#18

Maybe it all about water or something. I hear in Colorado, its illegal to collect the rain that falls on your roof. Colorado is not like it used to be.

Whoops, edit. An F for the day on English composition.


#19

“Maybe it all about water or something. I here in Colorado, its illegal to collect the rain that falls on your roof. Colorado is not like it used to be.”

Are you kidding me? Good Grief! I’d collect it even though I didn’t need it and wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I wonder if my artesian well that I can see from my living room window, spewing out several gallons/minutes of pure, clean spring water, would be illegal, too?
CSA


#20

We MUST allow rain to get downstream to farmers and water districts who own Water Rights.
If everyone, or too many, collected roof rainwater, downstreamers would suffer shortages.

As a Registered Tree Hugger and Greenie, I am considering piping gray water to 55 gallon drums which can be used to water the lawn.
We would need to switch to biodegradeable laundry and dishwasher soaps.