Cat's Eye Road Studs - Percy Shaw

Catseyes are the road reflectors which help drivers see in the fog or at night.

Catseye Road Stud
Provided by Dreamstime

Percy Shaw (1890-1976) was an English inventor best known for inventing cat's eye road studs in 1934. Cat's eyes are the road reflectors which help drivers see the road in the fog or at night. In 1947, British Labor Junior Transport Minister Jim Callaghan introduced cat's eyes on British roads.

Percy Shaw

Manufacturer and inventor Percy Shaw was born on April 15, 1890, in Halifax, England. After attending the Boothtown boarding school, Percy Shaw began working as a laborer at a blanket mill at the age of thirteen, however, he studied shorthand and bookkeeping at night school. He started a repair business with his father fixing rollers, which evolved into a path and driveway building business. He designed a miniature motorized roller to aid him in building driveways and paths.​

Cat's Eye Road Studs

The area in which Percy Shaw lived was prone to fog and the local roads were often hazardous for motorists. Shaw decided to invent reflecting studs that would be set into the surface of unlit roads. He was inspired by the reflection of car headlights in road signs. In fact, he based the idea on another invention—reflective road signs that had been patented in 1927.

Percy Shaw patented his Maltese cross-shaped road studs (U.K patent #436,290 and #457,536) and trademarked the name Cat's Eye. He formed the Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd to manufacture the new road studs. However, sales were sluggish until the Ministry of Transport mandated Catseyes for British roads.

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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "Cat's Eye Road Studs - Percy Shaw." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 26). Cat's Eye Road Studs - Percy Shaw. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Cat's Eye Road Studs - Percy Shaw." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 24, 2021).