Peep-peep, peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppp, pop-pop ….. Probably, once in a day such sound falls in your ear. These are the sounds made by different vehicles to alert other road users. This warning device—horn—is used in almost every vehicle at present.
There was a time when a man used to walk in front of the car blowing horn and waving a red flag. In this way he used to clear road for drivers in Britain in 19th century when there were very few cars on the roads. Sounds awkward, but the idea behind the invention of horn started from this very point.
Car manufacturers and owners realized the need of warning signals in the vehicles to alert pedestrians and other road users back then. Moreover, they also wanted the device to be operated by the drivers from inside the vehicles.
American roads witnessed and heard such signaling devices in the beginning of 20th century. Manually operated such devices used to produce different type of sounds similar to whistle, siren and bell. People or car owners used to have the one of their choice in order to send warning signal to other road users in the form of sound.
Godin was one of the popular horn manufacturers then. Sireno—press while you steer—was its renowned product that was heard mile away. Similarly, Gabriel was another big market player of horn at that time. The horn was loud and powered by vehicle’s exhaust.
Miller Rees Hutchinson is regarded as the inventor of horn. He invented a device called Klaxon which produced the aa-oo-ga sound. He patented the invention in the same year—1908. The Lovell-McConnell Manufacturing Company later purchased his patent. Klaxon was installed as standard equipment in General Motors.
Klaxon was operated either by small hand crank or motor powered batteries. It produced directional sound which was its one of the main advantages as pedestrians were enabled to locate the source of sound and leave the way to vehicle. The device was responsible for lowering mounting road accidents rate then.
After two years of the invention of Klaxon another type of horn was introduced in the vehicle market by Englishman called Oliver Lucas. He invented electric car horn that was capable of transferring sound more effectively and heard mile away.
These two inventions were the predecessor of the modern car horns. In order to generate perceptible sound in noisy area, vehicle owners used to have two different horns producing two different sounds back then.
History of horn is quite interesting. But right now we are in 21st century where honking is restricted at certain areas in different states of the US. It is one of the main sources of noise pollution.
I am sure there is a horn in your vehicle but honk it only at the time of need because you are a sincere driver who is also responsible for environment.