Percy Shaw was born in Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the fourth child and second son of James Shaw, a dyehouse labourer who worked at a local mill, and his second wife Esther Hannah Morrell. Six years later President Eisenhower presented Cunningham with the Harmon Trophy, awarded annually to the world’s outstanding aviator. Percy Shaw’s fame grew, enhanced no doubt by his outgoing and slightly eccentric personality. Cunningham opened fire and the Junkers 88 went down, the unfortunate crew the first victims in a new chapter of aerial warfare. Enabling vehicles to travel in the dark, the fog and during the blackout of World War II, whilst helping to save numerous lives on the UK's roads, the invention of the cat's eye is …

[3] A blue plaque was erected by the Halifax Civic Trust. Further, local school children who were taken on visits to the factory in the late 1970s were told that the idea came from Shaw seeing light reflected from his car headlamps by tram tracks in the road on a foggy night. The AI [Airborne Interception] Mark III radar had been fitted in Blenheim aircraft during the Battle of Britain, but it was a crude system in an obsolescent craft, and so proved utterly ineffectual. The space where he wanted to build his workshop was occupied by his favourite tree, so he incorporated the tree into the building. Details of all the society’s activities can be found on our website www.hebdenbridgehistory.org.uk  and you can also follow us on our Facebook page. On each Friday a few friends would come to the house and Percy would supply crates of bottled ale and boxes of potato crisps.

With the demise of trams, these guidelines had disappeared, but having picked out the gleam of a cat’s eyes, the idea for his invention struck. After his father's death in 1929, he started his own small business as a road contractor, repairing roads until his death in the 1970s. As passing traffic depressed the moulding, the reflectors were automatically cleaned by rainwater collected in the base of the moulding. “By May 1941 I had 12 successful combats in my Beaufighter,” he reflected after the war. In the ensuing months Cunningham’s tally increased, as did the Germans’ puzzlement as to why the RAF were suddenly having more success in night fighting. He died in 1976, and has continued to be celebrated with appearances in lists of the greatest inventors, designers and Yorkshiremen well into the 21st century. What was ingenious about the Cats’ Eyes was the simplicity of the idea – glass given a reflective surface; a flexible rubber stud; and the casting that held the stud in the road.

Each world has more than 20 groups with 5 puzzles each. In a poll of the best British designs of the 20th century, cats eyes made the top 25, in the august company of Concorde and the Spitfire. Worldwide Sites.

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