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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Picturing the Past 94: Speeders beware

Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 7:34 AM

Police Chief Clarence Wheeler and officer Jack Stallings inspect Shelbyville's first speed detection device. (T-G file photo)
Welcome to modern, sort of, technology.

The device above ushered in a new era for drivers.

It's the first speed-detection device in Shelbyville, introduced in 1958. That's Police Chief Clarence Wheeler and officer Jack Stallings looking it over.

The story didn't detail how it worked, but obviously it's a far cry from today's electronic units.


Here's a closer look, if somewhat fuzzy, of the detector.

I imagine a few readers of this blog may have encountered this device or something similar.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

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Sometime in the late 1060s I went out with an officer who was testing this device. The first driver who passed by was speeding. It was his wife. The second driver was also speeding...and that driver was my wife, Harriet. After muttering a few words, he put the device back in his patrolman and that's the last time I heard of it being used to nab speeders.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sun, Jan 9, 2011, at 3:14 PM

I think the things that stretched across the road were closed air hoses, and the signal was sent to the unit as two puffs of air. A very light car or a motorcycle tended not to activate that type detector. It was manned, so you could still be nabbed by the cop on the scene -- there just wasn't any indication of your actual speed.

-- Posted by razyn on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 11:04 AM

I remember this device being used in front of Southside School in the summer of 1958. Two cables were stretched across the road a set distance apart and the time elapsed the vehicle took between the cables was measured by a timer and converted to mph.

-- Posted by LarLMoore on Tue, Jan 4, 2011, at 5:26 PM

Yep, I think that I may have helped to pay for that contraption.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 4, 2011, at 9:06 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.