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Safety reflector

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Safety reflector
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-19269


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Fixing Cars

Theft Warning Auto Lock

Piston Vise

Safety Reflector
Catalog #: 1997.0243.30, Accession #: 1997.0243
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

Jonathan Cass Stimson invented and marketed safety reflectors for vehicles and road signs. The cube-shaped indentations reflected light from any direction. This reflector is custom-fitted for the inside panel of an open car door.

Physical Description
artifact. 5 1/2" L x 2 1/4" W x thickness 3/8" leather and red plastic.
Date Made:
about 1935
Gift of Gordon W. Bowie and Mary Stimson Bowie
Many people thought that cars, as the dealer sold them, were inefficient or lacked much-needed accessories. Model T owners sent the Ford Motor Company ideas for improvements, and hundreds of mail-order gadgets and attachments allowed owners to upgrade the Model T or make it work better. Inventors fashioned devices that claimed to make cars safer, more fuel-efficient, or easier to use. Some of these devices later became standard features on cars. Others remained popular add-on items, and still others failed to catch on

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