GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) — Turn signals are a crucial part of traffic communication. Bertie County native Dr. Stephen L. Bond said you have his grandfather to thank for that tool.
“Unbeknownst to most people, an invention as important as a signal light had roots in Eastern North Carolina,” said Bond, “[My grandfather] thought to himself, “cars need a signal light,” because back then you had to stick your arm out to let someone know if you’re going left or right.
“He figured this would take away from the inconvenience of having to stick your arm out in bad weather, so that was his idea for the invention.”
David Bond registered his idea with a U.S. patent but was unable to renew the patent after five years.
“After the patent expired, he was not able to renew it and, due to racial threats and stuff, he never got the credit or accolades he deserves,” said Bond.
North Carolina was in its Jim Crow era, denying Bond the opportunity of securing credit or loans because of racial prejudice. Bond lost his claim to the invention of the turn signal. There are several stories on the internet about who invented the turn signal. Most say it was invented by Oscar J. Simler and patented in 1929.
“My hope is that he’s in the history books like some of the other unsung heroes because, think about it, every moving vehicle has a signal light, it can be a car, a truck, a forklift, they all have a signal light … let the world know that my grandfather was a genius and a sweet person as well,” said Bond.
Bond authored his book “Unsung but Forever Remembered, the Man Who Invented the Automobile Turn Signal,” to remember his grandfather’s legacy.
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.