Lester Wire

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Lester Wire
Photo of Lester Wire
ca. 1908
Born (1887-09-03)September 3, 1887
Died April 14, 1958(1958-04-14) (aged 70)
Resting place
Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000
Known for Inventor of the electric traffic light

Lester Farnsworth Wire (September 3, 1887–April 14, 1958) is credited with the invention of the electric traffic light in 1912 in Salt Lake City. Wire worked as a detective for the Salt Lake City police force.[1] The original traffic light, based on a semaphore system, had been invented in London in 1868 by John Peake Knight but had not been a success.

The earliest known patent for a traffic light in the USA was U.S.Patent # 1,251,666 issued January 1, 1918, to J.B. Hoge of Cleveland, Ohio.[2]


He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.


  1. ^ "Famous Mormon Engineers and Inventors", famousmormons.net (Ron Johnston) [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ History of Traffic Lights, "Innovation History", The Great Idea Finder (ideafinder.com) (Vaunt Design Group) [unreliable source?]