|History of the Road Stud
They originated in the UK in 1933 and today are used all over the world.
The simple road stud, or as they are commonly known, the Cat's Eye was invented by Percy Shaw, a road mender from Halifax, and are now used as a safety device on over 90% of Britain's roads.
Their invention came about from a remarkable piece of observation when Shaw noticed after the removal of tram-lines in the nearby suburb of Ambler Thorn, he had, unwittingly been using the old polished strips of steel to navigate.
The name "cat's eye" comes from Shaw's inspiration for the device: the reflection from the eyes of a cat apparently when driving home one foggy night.
That is when he clicked onto the idea of using a simple reflective device buried in the road surface to guide drivers along dangerous roads.
Having seen how cars were becoming more and more popular and that as more and more people wanted to travel at night they would need more and more help to do so safely.
In 1934, he patented his invention, but to actually design something which was not only bright enough to light the road but also withstand the impact of the cars driving over the top of it.
In 1937 he won the government contract to mass manufacture the stud and what we still see today on our roads was born.
Shaw made the device from two pairs of reflective glass spheres - the 'eyes' - which are traditionally set into a white rubber dome, mounted in a cast iron housing.
The clever thing about the road stud is its ability to clean itself by using a fixed rubber wiper which effectively 'washes' the reflectors as they are pushed down when a car drives over the top of the device using rainwater which has collected in the base, making the stud's effectively way ahead of their time in terms of recycling as well.
At its peak, Shaw's company Reflective Road studs made over a million studs a year, exporting all over the planet, and while these days they are available in a range of colours and can be solar powered or hard wired the basic principle remains the same.
What do the various types of Cat's-Eyes mean?
On UK roads today there are various types of road stud all of which have different meanings: