Truss Masts

The first truss rod mast arms that did not have guy wires were used in the mid 1950s.   They have been the standard way to suspend signals in New Jersey, whether vertical or horizontal, since that time.  Today, they are still widely used in new installations, although tubular mast arms are equally common.  Most new NJ installations today use a combination of truss and tubular masts.

Vintage Views

A cool long exposure shot of horizontal trusses featured in a 1960s postcard for the Tropicana Motel at Boston & Pacific in Atlantic City.

Brand new Crouse-Hinds type DT signals on shiny aluminum poles with horizontal masts were installed in Camden in 1956.

These 1950s GE “Streamline” clusters in River Vale were favorites of fellow-collector Steven Conboy, who grew up in the area.  In 2020, Steven alertly nabbed one of the heads from this intersection when he spotted it for sale on eBay. I was able to make the pickup and send it along to him; the first time I ever handled one of these very cool (and very lightweight) lights.

Above, a new installation of LFE-Automatic signals, still wrapped in burlap, are about to be activated at Riverview Drive and N. Winifred Drive in Totowa in 1970.  I remember passing this corner many times in the ’70s on our way to my uncle’s house in Wayne.  The building in the background contained a Thomas’s English Muffins thrift store back then.  The 8″ signals facing Winifred are still there, I believe, but the 12″ arrow clusters facing Riverview Drive were, sadly, replaced by plastic 12″ doghouse style signals.


New Views

“Lazy lights” from the 1970s still looking great down the shore in Wildwood…

In 2017, Steve Conboy sent me a great set of photos that he took of a truss rod signal installation in Totowa, NJ – a traffic light that I am very familiar with.  The 8″ lamps are early LFE-Automatic incandescent signals (check out the cool logo on the closeup photo), from the late ’60s or early ’70s, while the 12″ arrows are by Marbelite.  I really dig the green fading to yellow.   Great photos as usual, Steve!

A recent Google image of incandescent Marbelites from the 1960s or ’70s, still surviving in Edison Twp, not far from me. These also have the green-to-yellow fade as do the LFEs in Steven Conboy’s photos above.

Banner image: A Marbelite cluster on a truss rod mast overlooks a traffic jam on Route 18 in East Brunswick in the early 1980s