Perhaps it is an urban legend, maybe not. The invention of those reflectorized road studs seems to be the stuff of myth. In 1933, Englishman Percy Shaw had been driving down a road in a very dense fog at night. The haze was so thick that he nearly drove down an embankment. Luckily, his headlights were reflected in the eyes of a cat that was perched on a nearby fence.
This close call and the encounter with the cat inspired Shaw to invent road studs. Each stud involved encasing two glass marble-size reeflectorized beads in rubber. He envisioned placing the studs at regular intervals between traffic lanes. The gadget was designed to reflect headlights to help guide motorists down the road.
The first version of Shaw’s invention included a small depression at the site of the beads. The indentation was designed to fill with rainwater. When a car or truck…
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