American Gas Accumulator

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AGA - American Gas Accumulator Company

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Elizabeth, NJ

File:AGA Logo.gif

AGA AB official website

U.S. Coast Guard Light Houses

Origins: Originally formed in 1899 by Axel R Nordvall as 'Svenska Aktiebolaget Gasaccumulator', the Swedish company hired Gustaf Dalén. Thanks materially to Dalén's work and Nobel Prize winning inventions (such as agamassan, the Dalen Light and the Sun Valve), the company flourished and was eventually awarded the lucrative contract to the United States Govt. to supply all the channel marker buoys and light houses for the newly completed Panama Canal.

In 1916 Svenska AB GA moved to Elizabeth, NJ in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Gustaf (who by this time had become the company director and primary shareholder) and the company's other stockholders were bought out by the DuPont family. The company name was changed from 'Svenska AGA' (Aktiebolaget Gas Accumulator) to just 'AGA' (American Gas Accumulator).

What is a Gas Accumulator and why was it important? Prior to Gustaf Dalen joining Svenska AB GA, LPG was the primary fuel for lighting sea buoys and lighthouses. Gustaf saw that acetylene provided a much brighter and vibrant flame which was visible from much further away than LPG. But acetylene was not only a volatile and dangerous fuel to handle, but it was even more dangerous to transport it. Gustaf realized the importance of reducing the risks involved and invented Agamassan which allowed for the safe storage and handling of Acetylene. Gustaf then went on to invent the Dalen Light which was basically a very efficient gas-fired lamp. Adding to this efficiency was yet another invention, the Sun Valve (which won Gustaf the Nobel Prize in physics). So groundbreaking was the work of Gustaf and AGA that the Dalen Light was used as the primary lamp for maritime buoys and lighthouses for the next fifty years until they were replaced with electrical lamps in the 1960s.

How did AGA start producing traffic signals? Some astute individual realized that the same technology they were developing for increased visibility at sea could also be applied on land for automobile safety. So it was that the very first AGA traffic signals were little more than land versions of their sea buoys. In fact, they were actually referred to as 'lighthouses'. Eventually they expanded the traffic signal line into electrical incandescent lamped signals. Ther first traffic beacons in the US where installed around 1914. Gustaf even tried branching into RailRoad signals as is evidenced by this patent from the late 20s, but apparently the competition from Adlake was stiff.

Why did they stop producing traffic signals? AGA eventually sold off their traffic signal division to SSC (Signal Service Corporation) in 1932.

in Janarary 1925, AGA installed Sweden’s first traffic signals at the Vasagatan/Kungsgatan and Kungsgatan/Drottninggatan crossings in Stockholm.

AGA in Sweden stay in businesses whit the profitable gas/welding, batteries, radiators and the less successful electronics and medical technology. Sometime around 1968-1969, AGA decided to focus more strongly on the rapidly expanding air gas market, and sold the signal division to DSI Dansk Signal Industri subsidiarie of LM Ericsson


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Traffic Signals

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Four Ways

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Pedestrian Signals

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Vehicle Heads (Round)

Vehicle Heads (Square Door Adapters)

Pedestrian/Sign Heads (Rectangular)

Informational Signals and Signs

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Restored Examples

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