Florence Lawrence was known as “The First Movie Star”. Early movies were shown without credits to the actors, and she was the first actress to be named on-screen.
She was also an avid automobile enthusiast. Like many of us today, she was frustrated by the inability to know when drivers in front of her were going to turn or stop.
So she invented turn indicators, which were mechanical flaps that extended from the sides of the vehicle.
Later she invented a brake indicator, a flap on the rear which read “STOP”, actuated by depressing the brake pedal. Florence Lawrence’s inventions evolved into today’s turn signals and brake lights.
When asked why she never patented her invention, the movie star explained that the inventions were simply for the good of all mankind. Her inventions were quickly patented and used by others.
A short story of Florance Lawrence brought to you by Great Big Story.