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The cat's eye road reflector is a simple device that has saved countless lives. These inexpensive glass and rubber reflectors are set on the roadway at regular intervals, and help motorists see where the road is at night. Each of the cat's eyes reflects oncoming light, acting like lights set into the road. This device was invented in 1933 by Percy Shaw, from Yorkshire, England. He invented it after he had been driving on a dark, winding road on a foggy night; he was saved from going off the side of the hill by a cat, whose eyes reflected his car's lights. Shaw's invention mimicked the reflectivity of a cat's eyes. Because of his invention, Shaw was awarded the Order of the British Empire ("OBE") by Queen Elizabeth of England in 1965.
I remember seeing a BBC TV feature back in the 1960s (the "Tonight" program, I think) which claimed that while Percy Shaw invented the self-cleaning mechanism for cat's eyes, he did not invent the reflecting cat's eye itself, this being an earlier relatively unsuccessful invention. 184.108.40.206 13:32, 16 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I moved the comment from IP 220.127.116.11 to the discussion page:
the story i heard on a school excursion in the late 70s or early 80s was that percy shaw needed to navigate home from the pub up a steep hair pinned road at night so he made cats eyes so he can navigate home after a few beers. 18.104.22.168, 06:29, 20.August 2008.