Span Wires

Signals hung from span wires were a more common sight in other states, but New Jersey, of course, did this too. This page features some cool examples. Also, be sure to check out the WVW-8 beacon that I decided to include on the Weird New Jersey Signals page.

Asbury Park Old Span Wires

Asbury Park was on the cutting edge of traffic control in the early days. These photos from the RC Maxwell Advertising archives show some of the early Horni Type 250 4-way signals with 6 3/8″ lenses strung along NJ Route 4N (present-day Route 71).  The second and third photos show, I believe, a red indication illuminated in the second position of the stack. These were single-bulb sections, so the side streets had green in this position. The top section would have been red in all directions for a flashing indication, either at night or in special circumstances.

See the RC Maxwell photos on the Pedestals page for more interesting Asbury Park signals from this era.

This blinker cluster made of late ’40s Marbelites (and a Mark IV on the right) has four – count ’em – four rarely seen Horni/Marbelite finials plugging the housings. Photo grabbed from Google.

Atlantic City Spans

The bustling resort of Atlantic City was home to quite an assortment of early signals. From the treasure trove that is the online RC Maxwell Digital Collection from Duke University, these are some of the span wire installations that I have found.  A vintage signal fan’s paradise!

For all the images that open up in “slider” mode, I recommend using the “view full size” button (in the lower right corner in full desktop layout) to see these images best.

The two images above appear to be of the same light, a 4-way adjustable made by American Gas Accumulator.  The AGA lights can usually be recognized by their wide face and distinctive “batwing” cutaway style visors.

The 4-way signals above are early 3-bulb fixtures made by Crouse-Hinds.  The 3-bulb signal design necessitated having reverse color order on the main street versus the side street.  I believe it was customary for the normal “red-on-top” faces to be directed to the main street.

The above set of images shows both fixed-face and adjustable 4-ways of the Crouse-Hinds Type D style on span wires.  These are newer than the 3-bulb signals in the previous image set, and certainly way more common, but fabulous nonetheless.


This photo has a particularly neat assortment of old signals. Along with the Crouse-Hinds adjustable Type D 4-way on the span wire, there is an AGA adjustable on the left and a really rare square-lens GE (?) 4-way on the guy wire mast, plus what may be a 3-bulb Crouse-Hinds in the distance. Atlantic City obviously preferred to use dark (I’m guessing green and black) paint as their choice of signal color early on. Click the image for the full size version.

Banner photo: A gorgeous cluster of AGA signals hangs from a span wire near the Atlantic City train station.