Delineators: From Humble Road Markers to High-Tech Safety Solutions


Modern-day delineators may appear to be simple inventions that attractively demarcate roadworks, general maintenance work zones, or construction sites to guide road users into safe traffic lanes. Yet, their history reveals a constant evolution, adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of road safety.


In this article, the road-safety specialists at Armco Superlite will investigate the fascinating journey of delineators, from their humble stick-and-lantern beginnings to their current role as high-tech road-safety solutions, all while exploring the numerous benefits of these useful tools.


Lighting the Way – A Brief History of Early Delineators


The exact origins of delineators are vague, but their formal roots appear to date back to the early 20th century when horse and carriage road users and motorised vehicles began to share road space. At the same time, roads began to evolve. Pathways needed to be broadened and roadworks began to be frequent obstacles.


In these early years, vehicles were slow and motorists could see these obstacles far in advance by day. However, lanterns mounted on wooden posts were often used to light the way and draw attention to these potential risks after dark. But these were very labour-intensive and weather-dependent devices.


After several failed attempts at perfecting delineators, from these stick-and-spoke lanterns and concrete and solid wood traffic barriers to brightly painted wooden or cement barrels and others, an effective traffic delineator was patented by Charles Scanlon in 1943 in the shape of a traffic cone. This patent would ensure minimal damage on impact with a vehicle as it was a sewn-together, rubber traffic cone made from discarded car tyres. Delineators


This invention officially began the evolution of the first generation of traffic cones. In turn, these later evolved into the various, often high-tech, vertical, bladed, poled, or otherwise designed delineators we are familiar with today, which, like the humble road cone, can be used for a host of applications.


Material Innovations for Strength and Visibility with High-Tech Delineators


Like the evolution of the road cone, the introduction of new materials revolutionised vertical delineators. Steel and, later, plastic became the go-to choices for their superior strength and durability. Moreover, the addition of reflective sheeting dramatically enhanced nighttime visibility. These advancements allowed delineators to perform a wider range of functions, including channelising traffic, marking hazards, and separating lanes.


Embrace Technology with Modern Delineators


Today’s delineators are no longer passive stick-and-candle sentinel markers. Delineator specialists are constantly innovating and incorporating features that improve nighttime visibility. From various plastics and paints to luminous materials, these advancements are particularly crucial for construction zones, where fluctuating light conditions demand adaptable safety solutions.


3 Important Benefits of Using Vertical Delineators


There are numerous benefits of using new and technically advanced delineators. But three short and important benefits are:


  • Enhanced Visibility: Advanced reflective sheeting and colour differentiation ensure drivers can clearly see the delineators, especially in low-light conditions. This allows for better planning and reaction times, leading to fewer accidents.


  • Increased Worker Safety: In construction zones, delineators create a clear barrier between workers and traffic. These separation devices, often coupled with traffic cones and other essential road safety equipment, create a clear barrier between workers and traffic, safeguarding their well-being.


  • Cost-Effective Solutions: Delineator road-safety equipment is available in many shapes and sizes, from the humble but robust traffic cone and vertical reflector blades with solid bases and luminescent paint coverings to our almost indestructible Dura-Post®, our high-tech delineators will offer you complete peace of mind.


Illumination at Night Adds Light – Consult with Armco Superlite


At Armco Superlite, we are listed in accordance with the BSI ISO 9001:2015 quality management system, which ensures the quality of all products and services produced by our team of trained, experienced, and friendly specialists who will answer all your road safety concerns. So, if you need delineators or any other road safety equipment, consult with us today or peruse our website for our full portfolio.