Five ‘Masonite’ Models of 1930s Road Signs
Five ‘Masonite’ Models of 1930s Road Signs

Five ‘Masonite’ Models of 1930s Road Signs

c. 1933 to c. 1935 England

Offered by Baggott Church Street Ltd


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Exact replicas of the cast iron or aluminium road signs in use on the UK’s roads in the 1930s. Hardboard or Masonite plates with black silk screen signage to white ground. Poles painted in black and white stripes as the ones in use on the country’s roads. Used as a training aid for adults at the institution of driving tests following the 1934 Road Traffic Act.
English, circa 1933 - 1935
Max H. 38 ½” (98cm) Min H. 24 ¼” (61.5cm)Base Dia: 6” (15cm)
Stock No. 1270
With road traffic casualties at an alarmingly high rate in the 1920s, the government of the time sought to standardise road signs and regulations, and, following the Road Traffic Act of 1930, the very first Highway Code was published in 1931, with 18 pages of instruction. With continuing record road casualties in 1934, there was further need for reform, and the Road Traffic Act of 1934 was introduced by the then Minister of Transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha, and subsequently passed. It was at this time that the second edition of the Highway Code containing diagrams of just 10 road signs in use at the time, as well as warnings about the dangers of driving when affected by alcohol or lack of sleep, was published.

It was in 1933 that the national British road signs were given definitive attributes; a red disc for prohibition, a red ring for an order and a red open triangle in a ring for warning with an order. All signs carried information plates mounted below these warnings or orders with the warnings or hazards being illustrated and a text panel below. 30 mph speed limit signs were also introduced in the Road Traffic Act of 1934. The ’T’ - shaped HALT AT MAJOR ROAD AHEAD sign was introduced in 1933. All signs were mounted on posts painted in black and white stripes. The lettering was either painted on or plastic or silk-screen self-adhesive letters were used.

Lord Hore-Belisha, remembered for his introduction of the Belisha Beacon crossing, also oversaw the introduction of the compulsory driving test for all drivers who started driving on or after 1st April 1934. Subsequently, it became imperative for all drivers to learn the road signs and the highway code in existence at the time. Road safety was also taught at schools to increase awareness of the dangers of roads and vehicles.

Hardboard was first made in England in 1898 by hot-pressing waste paper and eventually patented in the USA in 1924 by William H. Mason, a friend and protégé of the inventor Thomas Edison. Mass production of what was known as Masonite began in 1929 and used for a wide range of applications from doors and furniture to canoes.
Height 38.50 inch (97.79 cm)
Stock Code
Baggott Church Street Ltd

Baggott Church Street Ltd
Church Street
GL54 1BB

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