Traffic cones have not always been hollow as they are today and neither were they always so lightweight in construction. In fact, a quick historical tour provides insight as to why modern traffic cones can be heralded as essential road-safety devices that have truly come a long way. Charles P. Rudabaker designed the first ones as far back as 1914. However, his pylons were made from concrete. Charles D. Scanlon, an American painter who worked for the City of Los Angeles, has been credited for the first traffic cones made of rubber. The wooden tripods of old used at the time for marking roads particularly frustrated him. He noticed that the tripods were easily damaged and not at all easy to see. As such, the tripods were often more of a hazard than a help for road users. Scanlon designed the first rubber traffic cones for which he registered a patent in the early forties.
It would take some years before the rubber traffic cones would be used in Europe as well. The pylons, as originally designed by Charles Scanlon, would return to an upright position after a glancing blow. This design was what made the pylons suitable substitutes for the paraffin burners used during road construction in the UK at the time. It was the Brit David Morgan who is credited for manufacturing the first plastic pylons, which were far superior replacements for the wooden types used up until then. Such pylons were also later used in the USA to warn road users of stationary service trucks and thus to help ensure the safety of road workers. Their purpose of ensuring visibility of and drawing attention to stationary service vehicles and workers next to or on the road has remained unchanged to this day. Of course, those original road cones made from concrete were far too heavy for widespread deployment and a hazardous for road users. The highly visible orange, red, and yellow pylons used today are a lot more practical for the following reasons:
- Made from strong PVC plastic.
- Brightly coloured for maximum visibility.
- Lightweight in design.
- Hollow centres.
- UV-resistant ink coatings.
- Optional reflective strips.
- Variety of colour options.
- Heavy bases for stability.
These characteristics are what make these traffic pylons so useful and practical as road-safety products. It has a heavy and sturdy base to minimise the risk of it being easily blown over by the wind. It is hollow for easy stacking and storage when not in use. The hollow design also makes the pylon lighter, which is beneficial for transportation and easy deployment on the road. When it comes to construction and mine sites where large vehicles operate, the normal pylons typically used on South African roads are simply not easy enough to see. For such purposes, we supply the large 1,8-m-high pylons made for maximum visibility even for heavy-machine operators that sit high up in their vehicles. These cones come with specially moulded holes through which the devices can be anchored to the ground for better stability and to prevent accidental moving of the pylons. The PVC plastic used does not rust or corrode as metal does, making them very durable. The UV-resistant ink used to colour the plastic ensures the longevity of the bright colour. With no maintenance needed to keep it highly visible throughout the lifespan of the cone, this road-safety device is cost-effective for applications such as:
- Directing motorists around accident scenes.
- Demarcating space for road workers.
- Drawing the attention to a stationary vehicle.
- Warning of a hazard ahead.
- Redirecting traffic into a specific lane.
- Indicating wet paint, such as wet road markings.
- Indicating the path for pedestrians or cyclists.
- Temporary demarcating a particular road lane for a specific use.
There is even a road pylon society today, dedicated to preserving pylons from around the world and sharing knowledge about them. Though these pylons may not feature amongst the most groundbreaking inventions that have changed the way society functions, these devices are, nevertheless, important to improve road safety in modern society. Our traffic cones are made to be exceptionally durable. In fact, all our products are cost-effective, strong, practical in design, and versatile in application. Download our brochure for specifications of our road pylons and get in touch for a quotation or to place a bulk order.