Home › History › The History of the Radar Gun
  • Dec 14 on, doing more research as I have time, compiling lists of old sports gun models and specs for the 'Products' section, and the 'Fast Guns vs Slow Guns' section. Will publish details in the months ahead.
  • During Oct/Nov 2014, I completely revamped and added to this page, and converted to a more narrative form with wiki style references - this project is turning out to be massive So, I would not rely on it quite yet, but it is interesting reading (There is much misinformation out there on this topic)
  • 9/19/2014 added Tom Verducci's account on Danny Litwhiler
  • 9/13/2014 initial page

We will explore why radar was needed, how radar came about, and how it was used over the years.

Back in the first days of the automobile at the turn of the 20th century, speeders were such a problem that citizen vigilante groups would often track down or injure offending drivers. So, legal speed limits were rolled out across the country, and police officers successfully used bicycles, then automobiles or motorcycles (cheaper) to “pace” speeders, following behind at a constant distance. The invention of radar, however, changed the speeding game. One radar device could take the place of 20-100 motorcycles, with much less chase risk involved, and with greater accuracy.

Today, radar guns initially adapted to measure vehicle speeds for traffic purposes, have been further adapted for everything from measuring the speed of pitched and hit baseballs/softballs, runners, bicycles, tennis balls, bowling balls, locomotive speeds, and race car speeds.

In the Beginning, There Were SpeedersBack to Top

Police Used Bicycles to Enforce Speed Limitsg1

Bicycle Roundsman
John Schuessler c1899
NY Times
The first traffic arrest was made 5/20/1899 to a taxi driver, Jacob German, in NYC operating an electric vehicle, by 26 year old New York City police officer, Bicycle Roundsman John Schuessler. Mr. German did not have the luxury of a paper ticket, he was jailed. This vehicle was a terror on the streets of New York, blazing along Lexington Avenue at an estimated 12 mph. The posted speed limit was 8 mph.

Roundsman Schuessler had been promoted during then Colonel Theodore Roosevelt's tenure on the Board of Police Commissioners.

Mr. German drove for the Electric Vehicle Company. In 1897, the company began leasing its cabs in New York City, and by 1899, there were 60 of these electric taxis called "Electrobats" in the city. The drivers would return the cars each night to a battery station on Broadway, to swap for newly charged batteries.

Electric Taxi NYC
Electrobat Taxi
Hemmings had this to say about the early 'Electrobats':
they used 800 pounds of lead-acid batteries, steered with the rear wheels, drove through the front, had a top speed of about 15 MPH and took eight hours to recharge. About 200 were on the streets of Manhattan in 1900, but they seem to have gone extinct by about 1910.

Electrobats in 1901
Thomas Edison film 0:44 mark

Before Detroit, New England was the center of automobile manufacturing at the turn of the 20th century, the home of Pawtucket Steamboat Co (RI), Lane and Dailey (VT), Frank Duryea (MA), Holyoke Automobile's Tourist Surrey and Tourer (MA), Loomis Runabout (MA), Columbia Auto (CT), Locomobile Co (CT/MA), Kidder (MA), Clark Auto (MA), Eclipse Auto (MA), Overman Auto (MA), and Keene Auto (NH).

So it made sense that in 1901, CT became the first state to post speed limits - 12 mph in cities, 15 mph outside.

Coincidently, 1901 was the first year for an automobile to have an optional speedometer.

In 1904, the first paper speeding ticket, without jail time, was issued by Dayton, Ohio police to Mr. Harry Myers for going twelve miles per hour on West Third Street, Dayton.

Faster Cars Required Speedy, Maneuverable Motorcyclesg2

In 1908, Ford's new inexpensive, gasoline-powered Model T could speed along at 40-45 mph, which was well above the previous speed limits.

By 1910, the electric taxi had essentially vanished from NYC, and wouldn't return until 2012 with a fleet of six Nissan Leaf's in 2012.

Indian Motorcycle
Indian Motorcycle 1901
sold for $135,000
Police departments began to buy motorcycles to pace faster and faster cars.

Yonkers NY police bought their first motorcycle in 1906, an Indian for $217 which came with the newly invented speedometer.

In 1907, NYC bought two Indian camelback motorcycles (they looked more like bicycles) that could reach 25-30 mph, to form their first Motorcycle Squad.

Here is a nice article with a couple of stories about a couple of motorcycle adventures to catch speeders in Des Moines Iowa in 1906 and 1911, involving a borrowed Belgian-made Fabrique National, and a rented 1911 Harley.

In 1940, when MLB wanted to test the speed of Bob Feller's fastball, radar wasn't available to the public yet, so it made sense that they used the most common way that people were caught speeding - the police motorcycle and it's ever-present speedometer.

Famous Sports Speederg5Back to Top

Babe Ruth
Arrested 1921
Babe Ruth was arrested for speeding twice in NYC in 1921. The first time in May or June 1921 for driving 27 mph.

His famous second arrest by Traffic Policeman Henry Yost after speeding through Manhattan doing 26 miles per hour in his maroon 12-cylinder Packard, he was sentenced to a 'day' in jail on June 8, 1921. The 'day' ended at 4pm which was after the 3:15 start of the Yankees-Indians game that afternoon. Since he was going to miss the start of the, he called someone to bring his uniform, which he put on in jail underneath his suit, then raced the 9 miles via police motorcycle escort to the Polo Grounds in time to replace hitter Chicken Hawk in the 6th inning.

Ruth was arrested for speeding again January 1924 in Massachusetts, where it was discovered that he hadn't had a valid driver's license for 10 years. Then he was arrested for speeding again in May 1928.

Invention of Radar and World War IIg3Back to Top

Important People in Development of Radar

1842 Christian Andreas Doppler (1801-1853)

Doppler RADAR is named after Christian Andreas Doppler. Doppler was an Austrian physicist who first described in 1842, how the observed frequency of light and sound waves was affected by the relative motion of the source and the detector. This phenomenon became known as the Doppler effect.

Example of Doppler Effect

This is most often demonstrated by the change in the sound wave of a passing train. The sound of the train whistle will become "higher" in pitch as it approaches and "lower" in pitch as it moves away. This is explained as follows: the number of sound waves reaching the ear in a given amount of time (this is called the frequency) determines the tone, or pitch, perceived. The tone remains the same as long as you are not moving. As the train moves closer to you the number of sound waves reaching your ear in a given amount of time increases. Thus, the pitch increases. As the train moves away from you the opposite happens.

1865 James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) - Theory of Radio Waves

In 1865 Maxwell, a Scottish mathematical physicist, developed the theory of electromagnetic waves in his paper 'A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field'. For the first time there was a unified understanding of light (UV, visible, infrared) and radio waves as expressions of the same phenomenon: electromagnetic radiation. His paper demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves moving at the speed of light. The unification of light and electrical phenomena led to the prediction of the existence of radio waves.

1886 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (1857-1894) Sends Radio Waves and They Reflect From Solid Objects

Proves Maxwell's Radio Wave Theory
Hertz model
In 1886, Heinrich Hertz, a physicist in Germany, first proved the existence of electromagnetic waves, after working 8 years on Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light.

Hertz proved the theory by creating devices in his lab to transmit and receive radio pulses, demonstrating and proving that such electromagnetic waves could be reflected from solid objects (like planes, cars, and ships).

He calculated that an electric current swinging very rapidly back and forth in a conducting wire would radiate electromagnetic waves into the surrounding space (today we would call such a wire an "antenna").

With such a wire he created and detected such oscillations in his lab, using an electric spark, in which the current oscillates (cycles) rapidly (that is how lightning creates its characteristic crackling noise on the radio!).

Today we call such waves "radio waves". At first however they were "Hertzian waves", and even today we honor their discoverer by measuring frequencies in Hertz (Hz), cycles per second--and at radio frequencies, in megahertz (MHz).

1904 Christian Huelsmeyer (1881-1957) Radar Can Locate (but not Range) Targets

Built on the Hertz Principles
First 'Radar' Device 1904
In 1904, Christian Huelsmeyer, a German inventor, invented and patented the 'telemobiloscope' which could detect the presence of faraway ships (to avoid collisions in the fog), but could not determine their distance (German patent 165546).

The Telemobiloscope wasn't technically radar since it couldn't measure distance, but was the first patented device using radio waves for detecting the presence of distant objects.

1935 Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt (1892-1973) Radar Can Locate and Range Targets

In 1935, Watson-Watt, a Scottish physicist, while in England, developed the radar device to locate (is it there?) and range (how far away?) aircraft. His radar invention was patented (British patent) in April 2, 1935.

His radar device which was capable of locating and ranging aircraft using pulses of microwaves rather than continuous waves.

He had proposed instead that it should be possible to develop a system to locate incoming enemy aircraft to provide an early warning, even at night and through cloud cover (since clouds are transparent to radio waves, and longer wavelength microwaves). Watson-Watt was given a team of scientists and engineers to develop the system and by the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 a series of tall towers with radio transmitters and receivers, known as “Chain Home”, had been constructed along the Eastern coastline of Britain.

Watt was born in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, educated at St Andrews University in Scotland, and taught at Dundee University. In 1917, he worked at the British Meteorological Office, where he designed devices to locate thunderstorms. Watson-Watt coined the phrase "ionosphere" in 1926. He was appointed as the director of radio research at the British National Physical Laboratory in 1935, where he completed his research into aircraft locating devices.

Oct '35 Modern Mechanix
Telefunken Spills The Beans

1935 Mystery Radar

Contrary to current popular belief, the public did know about radar for detecting airplanes - at least in 1935. Modern Mechanix published an article 'MYSTERY RAYS “SEE” Enemy Aircraft' in October 1935 outlining the basic principles. Notice they never use the term 'radar' - they are 'rays' or 'beams'. The veil was finally lifted by the Army in a Mechanix Illustrated article in Sep 1945 'At Last - The Story of Radar'.

Allied Radar Development During WWII

Radar was secretly developed by several nations before and during World War II.

On 2/21/1940, at Professor Oliphant's laboratory at Birmingham University, with young physicists John Randall and Harry Boot, produced a working prototype of a cavity magnetron. (Germany's Hollman's invented a flawed version in 1935 with serious frequency stability issues - see Axis 1935 below). But Randall and Boot added liquid cooling and a stronger cavity, one with 8 concentric cavities - the 450 W, 9.8 cm cavity magnetron (20 times more powerful). By 1941, they had fully solved the frequency instability issues.

This new cavity magnetron, which enabled microwave radar, was probably the second largest leap of technology during the war, after the atomic bomb.

In September 1940 during the Battle of Britain, Britain's secret (Henry) Tizard mission was dispatched to Washington, DC, to hand over her war-time secrets to the USA in exchange for research and productive capacity. Two of these secrets was the 10 centimeter cavity magnetron, and work on the 'VT fuze' radar.

Beginning in late 1940 and continuing through World War II, large-scale research at the MIT Radiation Laboratory (another 'decoy' name), which operated as part of Division 14, Radar, of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and was sited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was devoted to the rapid development of microwave radar. The "Rad Lab" designed almost half of the radar deployed in World War II, created over 100 different radar systems, and constructed radar systems on several continents.

12/7/1941 - It is a little-known fact that an hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor, radar detected the incoming planes, though nothing was done with the information.

In Aug 1942, the VT proximity fuze, after two years of top secret development, was successfully tested on the USS Cleveland. This 'fuze' was a battery-powered radio transceiver (radar unit) inside an artillery shell. On January 5, 1943, U.S.S. Helena shot down a Japanese bomber in the first combat use. The Navy did not allow these shells to be shot over land for fear the Japanese would copy the technology. The proximity fuze was one of the most important developments in the war. These fuzes were instrumental in downing many Kamikaze planes. 22 million fuzes were delivered during the war.

The British military began production of the 'Chain Home' radar units in 1936. The first completed May 1937 and operated by the RAF could spot aircraft at 10,000 ft or 80 miles away in good weather. Britain had an operational air defense system, with 20 CH stations, in place at the start of the war in September 1939.

Axis Radar Development During WWII

It is a myth that the British had radar and the Germans did not.

German Telefunken Wurzburg Radar
Telefunken - Luftwaffe/Wehrmacht - Wurzburg
In 1934/35, Telefunken headed by Dr. Wilhelm Runge, began work on 50 cm radar bouncing waves off of planes. They issued a press release of their findings, and Electronics magazine (Sep 35) and Modern Mechanix (Oct 35) posted detailed articles with photos of their devices.

In 1938, the Luftwaffe (air) had them develop land-based Darmstadt/Wurzburg radar units with klystron microwave tubes in the 53cm range. They later worked with the Wehrmacht (army). The first units were ready in 1940, eventually 4,000 were produced.

The British invented the cavity magnetron in 1940, but that remained a secret from the Germans until February 1943 when they recovered an undamaged H2S radar set from a crashed British bomber at Rotterdam.

This discovery caused an uproar in Germany. They created a special 'Rotterdam' Commission to study the magnetron. The Germans responded with what was essentially a radar detector called 'Naxos', and by Spring 1944 they had several in fighters.

Musical Patents
All of the patents filed by Telefunken in Germany were also filed in the USA. These were most of H. E. Hollmann's patents (Telefunken used his work), W. Runge, director of Telefunken, patents and tens of thousands of other relating radar patents. These patents were available to US based General Electric (GEC). Telefunken owned the German company, AEG which was allied with GEC and traded all patents with GEC. In this way, most of the German radar secrets, were available to the Allies. The Allies, England and America primarily, used these patents to develop their radar systems.

GEMA - Kriegsmarine - Freya/Seetakt
In 1935 GEMA and Dr. Hans E. Hollmann, working with Rudolf Kuhnold head of German Navy Research, contracted with the Kriegsmarine (navy) to develop working 50cm pulse radar waves. They could only detect ships/airplanes - no distance. Later they worked with the Lorenz company to develop Freya (land, 125m range) and Seetakt (sea) radar systems. Germany installed eight 'Freya' radar units on their western border in 1938. By the end of the war, the GEMA company installed over 6,000 of these radar units.

Also in 1935, Dr. Hollmann in Berlin developed and patented (Germany 11/29/1935 #112977, US 1936 #2123728) the first multi-cavity resonant magnetron. However, the German military considered the frequency drift of Hollman's device to be undesirable, and based their radar systems on the much less powerful klystron instead.

1940 Where did the Term 'Radar' Come From?

Until November 1940 the word 'radar' did not exist.

Albert (A.P.) Rowe, Robert Watson-Watt's successor as Superindentent of the Bawdsey Research Station where the Chain Home RDF system was developed, named the technology 'RDF' (radio direction finding). The Signal Corps called it 'RPF' (radio position finding). The Air Corps, overcome with secrecy, called it 'derax'.

The Navy, like the other branches and governments, was developing the ranging (distance/direction) effort in absolute secrecy, and sometimes the devices were simply called radio direction finding equipment to hide them within an unclassified equipment category that already existed. Any name giving a clue that they could detect as well as measure the position of a target was classified secret, causing many routine letters and dispatches to be classified secret for no other reason than the reference to radio target location. Lt. Commanders F.R. Furth and S.M. Tucker, the Navy officers in charge of new radar technology, devised the acronym 'radar' (radio detection and ranging), as a way to refer to the secret tech in unclassified messages and letters. On 11/18/1940, the Navy sent a secret letter authorizing the new term could be used in unclassified messages and conversations.

The British made the official switch from 'RDF' to 'radar' on 7/1/1943. Australians referred to radar stations as 'doovers' during the war.

1941 First US Warfare Radar - Pearl Harbor

In December 1936, the Signal Corps tested its first radar equipment at the Newark, NJ airport where it detected an airplane seven miles away.

By May 1937, Signal Corps demonstrated the SCR-268, a short-range radar set (the 268 had a long wavelength and was not 'microwave'), and started development of a long-range version for use as an early warning device for coastal defense.

Their radar was built for defensive purposes, therefore the Signal Corps developed the SCR-268 (205 MHz), designed to control searchlights and anti-aircraft guns, and subsequently designed for the Air Corps two sets for long-range aircraft detection: SCR-270, mobile set with a range of 120 miles, and the SCR-271, a fixed-radar with similar capabilities.

These units did not have a cavity magnetron. They operated at 106 MHz, using a pulse width from 10 to 25 microseconds, and a pulse repetition frequency of 621 Hz. With a wavelength of about nine feet, the SRC-270 was comparable to Britain's Chain Home system, but not to the more advanced microwave systems in Germany.

By early December 1941 the aircraft warning system on Oahu had not yet been fully operational. The Signal Corps had delivered mobile SCR-270 and fixed SCR-271 radar sets earlier in the year, but construction of 3 mountain-top SCR-271 fixed sites had been delayed, and radar protection was limited to six mobile stations operating on a part-time basis to test crews and equipment.

Pearl Harbor Radar
Spots Japanese Planes
Nat. Elec. Museum
The sixth and final SCR-270 mobile radar station, s/n 012, at Opana Point began operation on November 27, 1941.

At 7:02 AM Dec 7th, 1941, Privates George Elliot and Joe Lockard, mobile SCR-270 radar operators at the Opana Station, detected the Japanese attack planes 130 miles away.

At 7:20 AM they reported "Large number of planes coming in from the north, three points east" to the Ft. Shafter Aircraft Warning Information Center officer on duty, Lt. Kermit Tyler, who had been at the center for only two days, and had no training in radar. Tyler believed the radar blip was a flight of US B-17 Flying Fortresses inbound from California were expected that day, so he responded "Don't worry about it". Lockard and Elliot continued tracking the aircraft until they were about 22 miles away, then disappeared behind mountains, and then they stopped looking.

The first wave of attacks happened near 8:00 AM.

1942 Wartime Speed Limit

Victory speed limit
35 mph
UT War Speed
UT History
On Dec 7, 1941 the Japanese not only attacked Pearl Harbor, but they attacked Dutch East India (aka Indonesia), thereby preventing the US from obtaining 90% of it's rubber. This immediately led to a crisis including shortages of auto tires.

So from 1942 to 1945 (depending on the state), the War Department ordered a nationwide speed limit (aka Victory Speed Limit, Patriotic Speed Limit, War Speed Limit) of 35 mph to conserve rubber and gasoline for the war effort.

They were not kidding around. Those caught speeding would appear before the local War Price and Rationing Board to have their fuel ration coupons suspended/taken.

What's The Frequency, Kenneth?Back to Top

The letters in “radar” stand for “Radio Detection and Ranging.” Radar works on the principle of bouncing radio waves at the speed of light — 186,282.4 miles per second — off of a reflective object at a specific frequency. If the reflective object is moving, the radio waves return at a different frequency than that at which they were transmitted, and this difference is called Doppler Shift, or the Doppler Effect (see below). The radar gun’s computer tabulates the speed based on the difference in transmitted and returned frequency.

Frequencies used by law enforcement for radar guns are established and maintained by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

All radio waves have three distinguishable characteristics:

The signal speed (speed of propagation) - constant
Every RADAR signal travels at the same speed, the speed of light, or about 186,000 miles per second. Both the transmitted and received RADAR signals always travel at that constant speed.

The wave length - variable
Literally, the physical distance, or length from the beginning of the peak to the end of the valley. Most RADAR signals have wave lengths of about 3 centimeters (about 1-1/5 inches).

The frequency - variable
That is, the number of waves transmitted in one second of time. Police RADAR signals have frequencies of more than ten billion waves per second.
Note: Frequency usually is measured in cycles per second. One cycle is the same thing as one wave. Scientists and engineers use the term Hertz (abbreviated Hz.) instead of cycles per second.

All of these terms have exactly the same meaning:
one Hertz equals one cycle per second, which equals one wave per second.

Early S-Band

The first traffic radars transmitted at 2.455 GHz in the S band (2 - 4 GHz), which is the basically the same as many microwave ovens.

S band radar antenna beamwidths varied from 15 to 20 degrees depending on model. These radars operated from a stationary position only and measured receding as well as approaching targets to an accuracy of about ± 2 mph. The maximum detection range was an unimpressive 150 to 500 feet (45 to 150 meters); vacuum-tube receivers do not have the sensitivity of solid-state receivers. A radar with a 150 foot detection range would have less than 1.5 seconds to measure a target traveling 68 mph (100 feet/second or 109 kmh)

Better Bands

In the 1960s smaller, more powerful X-band units made the S band units obsolete.

Frequencies presently used by radar guns are: X band at 10.525 GHz, K band at 24.150 GHz, and Ka band at 33.4–36 GHz.

One GHz is equal to one billion cycles per second meaning that X band, for example, sends 10,525,000,000 radio microwaves per second, which then bounce back to the detection unit.

Will Radar Tell Me the Weather? Who is this Doppler Guy?Back to Top

Remember that the difference in the out/in frequency is called Doppler Shift. And it has nothing to do with the weather.

The Doppler Principle was first described by the Austrian physicist, Christian Doppler in 1842.

The Doppler Principle is a principle of physics which states:
"When an energy, be it light, radio, or sound energy, is transmitted from a moving object and reflected from a stationary object or transmitted from a stationary object and reflected from a moving object, or both, it increases or decreases in frequency in direct proportion to the speed of the object."

In the X-band radar frequencies, that Doppler shift occurs at the rate of 31.38 cycles per second. The Doppler shift for K-band is 72.02 cycles per second.

In the case of a K band radar device, the Doppler shift constant for 1 mile per hour is 72 cycles (wavelength) per second. Examples for the K Band:
  • 72 cycles/second is 1mph
  • 2880 cycles/second is 40mph
  • 5040 cycles/second is 70mph
  • 7200 cycles/second is 100mph

1946-1949 First Use of Police Radar - John Barker, CT State Police, Garden Cityg4Back to Top

John Barker
Traffic Radar Inventor
In the 1930s, John L. Barker Sr., an engineer at Automatic Signal Company, had been working on traffic lights.

During World War II, Automated Signal was redirected to the war effort by developing radar for the military. They worked for Grumman Aircraft Corporation to solve the specific problem of landing gear damage on PBY Catalina amphibious aircraft. John Barker and Bernard (Ben) Midlock fashioned a Doppler radar unit from coffee cans soldered shut to make microwave resonators. The radar unit was installed at the end of the runway (at Grumman's Bethpage, NY facility), and aimed at landing PBYs.

After the war ended, Barker and Midlock (for Automated Signal, based in Norwalk Connecticut) adapted this radar device for auto traffic use, then Mr Barker filed his patent #2629865 as inventor on 6/13/1946, and worked with the nearby Connecticut State Police no later than March 1947.

The NY Times' interviewed Mr. Barker's son in 2013:
“He kept the lights off, because he didn’t want anyone to see in,” says John L. Barker of the rooms his father rented to test a radar system he was making for the U.S. military.
John L. Barker Sr. — then an engineer at Automatic Signal Company — had been working on traffic lights in the 1930s, but during World War II, he dedicated himself to military research. “He pointed the machine out a window, and he tested it on cars that drove through an intersection.” 

When the war ended, Barker Sr. experimented with a new, peacetime application for the technology.

He would pack the radar equipment in the trunk of his car and play cop on the Merritt Parkway. “He would pull off the road and open the trunk so that the equipment faced traffic,” his son says. 

At the time, police officers had no precise way to clock a car; Barker knew that his device could change the rules of the road.

In 1947, the town of Glastonbury, Conn., deployed Barker’s machine on Route 2, creating what was perhaps the world’s first speed trap.
“This is the latest scientific method,” a police captain named Ralph Buckley told a reporter in 1949.

“It removes the possibility of human error.” And he added, “Any speeder who gets caught will have to argue with a little black box.” 

...the most important part of the speed detector may have nothing to do with its hardware. As John Barker Sr. himself pointed out in a 1948 issue of The Traffic Quarterly, drivers change their behavior when they think they’re being watched. As soon as Connecticut State Police first parked their radar truck beside the highway, the traffic slowed down — even though the troopers were handing out “courtesy cards,” not speeding tickets. 

John L. Barker Sr. (1912-1982) g6

Mr. Barker received an electrical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1933. He began his career at Automated Signal (AS) in 1933, and retired 44 years later in 1977. His first position was week-to-week during the depression in the White Plains, NY office, then in 1935 he moved with the company to Norwalk, CT. In 1937, he was awarded the first of his 160 U.S. and foreign patents.

During WWII, AS suspended its traffic control operations and converted to defense work.

In 1943, Barker became director of the research and development group. After the war, AS consolidated with Eastern Industries, Inc. With Detroit turning out faster and faster cars, speeding on the highways became a hazard. Of course, he patented his famous radar speed detection device in 1946. In 1961, LFE (Lab for Electronics) Corp. merged with Eastern Industries/ AS, and Barker became vice president/GM of Automated Signal. In 1966, he became President of the AS division of LFE Corp, then in 1968 VP of LFE Corp..

1947-1949 Early Adopters in Connecticut and Garden City, NYg7Back to Top

Sometime between March and May 1947, the CT State Police were testing the Automated Signal Co. radar on Merritt Parkway in Fairfield, Connecticut. At least by June 1947, the device was called the Electro-Matic Radar Speed Meter by Automated Signal Co. For almost two years the CT State Police performed only traffic surverys and issued warning tickets.

Police Radar 1947 Connecticut
Police Radar 1947 Connecticut

Popular Science described how it worked:
Behind its front panel are two antennas. One sends out a cone-shaped stream of radar waves in whatever direction it is pointed... Whenever a moving object gets in their way, some of the waves bounce back. They rebound at a different frequency than the one they started out with. This change in their frequency varies directly with the speed of the object that reflects them. [This] difference in frequency is amplified and translated into miles per hour on a .. speedometer.

From no later than May 8, 1948, through February 1949 or later, Garden City NY police were testing the new Speed Meter radar.

Garden City Radar
June 9 1948
Garden City Radar 1949

On 2/12/1949, Matthew Dutka became the first speeder caught by radar, on Route 2 in Glastonbury, CT by CT State Policemen Vernon Gedney and Albert Kimball. Mr. Dutka was doing 55 in a 30 mph zone. He was the unluckiest man in CT as 3,000 speeders had been clocked and not stopped that week by CSP.

Sgt. Albert Kimball operated one of the two devices through 1952 that caught 3,000 CT speeders, 450 resulting in penalties or arrests.

Note: In 2006, Capt. David A. Carson, of the Glastonbury (CT) Police Department donated what is believed to be one of the nation's first radar units to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Museum in Washington, D.C. The radar unit was reported to be the first used by Glastonbury police in 1948. This is probably not the same unit discussed above owned by the CT State Police.

1948-1972 Rollout of Police Radar Devicesg8Back to Top

1952 Delaware State Police radar
Police Radar 1954 Michigan
In Trunk
CA Hwy Patrol c1954-55
Bumper Mount

These early radar units could fit in a single vehicle, but they were bulky. Most had components that fit inside the trunk of the patrol car.

Police Radar Michigan
Police Radar St Louis
Nov 1953
Police departments all over the country were using radar by the mid 1950s. They were wildly popular because experience proved that they could replace as many as 30 traffic motorcycles with one radar unit, they eliminated the inherent danger of following speeders, and hazardous chases, and they could be used in any weather, day or night.

By November 1949, Electro-Matic Radar Speed Meters had been tried out either state-wide or locally in 12 states - California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Plus Garden City of course.

Then by Sep 1952 its use exploded to 31 states.

By April 1953, 56,000 radar arrests had been made, and only 318 failed to convict.

By Jan 1955, 43 states, plus Hawaii (which was not a state at the time) and DC, had some 600 machines, Ohio with 107 devices. By May 1956, 48 states had some 1600 radar devices.

IL Police Radar Specs 1954
Here is a partial rollout:
  • 1948 - Columbus OH PD (testing)
  • 1949 - Columbus OH PD (May 1949 enforcement), Illinois Hwy Dept (tests)
  • 1950 - Michigan State Hwy Dept (testing)
  • 1951 - South Bend (IN) Police, Washington State Patrol
  • 1952 - Delaware State Police (limited locations) (on 3/13/1952 charged nine people with speeding on the DuPont Parkway) , Virginia State Police (speed surveys) , Ohio Highway Patrol (enforcement), Dayton Ohio (June 13, Ptl. Harold Murphy and Ptl. James Hopkins stopped a car traveling 45 mph in front of Carillon Historical Park on S. Patterson Blvd.)
  • 1953 - St. Louis PD (testing began Oct 29, first ticket on Nov 4), Memphis PD (Mar 20 enforcement), New Jersey State Police (enforcement)
  • 1954 - Texas Highway Patrol (using the Electro-Matic Radar Speed Meter, manufactured by the Automatic Signal Division of Eastern Industries, Inc), California Highway Patrol (tests radar but can't use to issue tickets for decades), Vermont State Police, Virginia State Police, Hammond IL police (April), Illinois State Police (June 11), Chicago PD (testing Sep 1st through Nov 54), Tennessee Highway Patrol (enforcement), Wyoming State Patrol (testing), Idaho State Patrol (enforcement)
  • 1955 - Delaware State Police (full scale) (new smaller units were no larger than a suitcase and were permanently installed in the trunks of 1955 Ford Interceptors), Louisville (KY) PD (Jan 7 enforcement), Wyoming State Patrol (enforcement)
  • 1960 - Orem UT police
  • 1961 - Pennsylvania State Police, Shrewsbury MA Police, Huntsville AL police
  • 1962 - South Carolina Highway Patrol (enforcement)
  • 1967 - Rehoboth Beach (DE) Police
  • 1972 - Lexington SC Police
  • 1973 - Alabama Highway Patrol (bought 54 Speed Gun II radar units used to enforce the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit)
  • 1988 - California Highway Patrol can finally use radar

Electro-Matic in Action 1958

Radar Products 1949-1972g9Back to Top

Forgotten Brands

None of today’s radar companies were around during the very early days of police radar. Some company names from the beginning that are no longer active in this industry include: Eastern Industries's Automated Signal division (aka LFE), Electrolert, Smith and Wesson, Dominator, Stephenson, West Bend (Autotronics) Radar Systems Inc. (West Bend, Wisconsin) (lighter plugin and battery operated) 1969-1977? now dissolved, TriBar and Sentry.

Stephenson Mark VI Radar Speedalyzer


In 1968, Stephenson Corp was acquired by and became of subsidiary of Bangor Punta Corp, a large conglomerate. In 1971, Robert P. Falconer became President, and it was part of the Smith & Wesson Public Security Group, inside Bangor Punta. (S&W was acquired by them in '65)

Stephenson Company. William H. Stephenson, President, Eatontown/Red Bank, New Jersey Radar speed measuring devices (Speedalyzer®), resuscitators, alcohol testing equipment (Breathalyzer® and Drunkometer®), rescue and first aid equipment

I see products from 1960-1971.

Products: Two piece unit with needle gauge - TN-62 (transistors '61/62), TN-63 ('63), Models 'Transistor Speedalyzer' (1964), T-63?, 700 (1966), 700C (1966), and Mark V/VI/VI-A 'Radar Speedalyzer's. 1960 'Safety' mentions Speedalyzer. Have 1971 sales brochure 1971 Mark VI-A.

TriBar Ontario, Canada

Introduced the MuniQuip Tribar around 1977. I see them in 1979? (They bought the MuniQuip name from Decatur in 1966)

Products: Muni-Quip Tribar T3 (handheld lighter plugin), Muni-Quip Track Radar (2 pc dash,window- moving radar) , SPEED CHEK SCX-01 (sports screen 10.25 GHz battery powered)

Electro-Matic dash device MD police
Electro-Matic antenna MD police
1955 - Electro-Matic Radar Speed Meter, Models S2 and S-2A

Decatur Electronics 1966 on (formerly Muni-Quip 1955-1966)

Letter to The Editor
Radio Electronics
June 1962
Decatur Electronics is the oldest company still producing speed measurement radar. Bryce K. Brown studied math and physics at Southwestern College, Kansas. During WWII, he worked on the Manhattan project.

After the war, Brown taught at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois from 1946 to 1964.

He also had an interest in business, and in 1947 he started a soft water service.

In 1955, Brown started Muniquip (short for Municipal Equipment). He made speed timers by stretching two hoses across a road, and soon branched out into radar.

By 1963, the radar portion of Muniquip had annual sales of a million dollars.

In 1964, Brown left Millikin University to focus on the radar company.

In 1966, a Toronto firm (TriBar? Duncan Parking?) bought the Muni-Quip name and the non-radar business. Brown kept the radar portion of the business, and renamed the company Decatur Electronics, Inc. (still based in Decatur, IL)

As Brown developed the business, he developed new products, including speed timers to control traffic and a radar gun specifically for use in baseball.

In the following years, Brown developed the first directional radar. While the sales were good internationally, the directional product was "too advanced" for the domestic market and did not sell well in the United States. Brown had success with the RaGun, the MVR, and the Hunter radar guns.

By 1976, the radar business was approx. $2 million, in 1977 $3 million with 80 employees. Sales were booming because of federal grants issued to police departments for radar equipment, so they could keep the national speed limit at 55 mph to conserve fuel.

By 1986, Decatur Electronics was the primary supplier for major league baseball teams.

In the mid to late-1980s, Decatur fell on hard times and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Bob Sanner bought the business in 1989, with his son Randall who worked there from 1994-2005.
He revitalized the company introducing in 1991 the then-revolutionary, patented “miniature” Genesis I, the square “Patch” Antenna and soon to follow the even smaller Genesis II.
In 1997 Decatur introduced an innovative handheld radar which utilizes the Black & Decker VersaPak battery system. In 2000, Decatur introduced the SI-2, its newest high-tech microwave sensor.

In late 2004, Decatur released its best-selling GHD handheld directional radar as the lowest priced radar in the United States
In 2009, they were acquired by UK construction firm Bowmer & Kirkland, who formed a public safety division, Soncell North America. They were located in Decatur, IL until Dec 2010, and relocated to Phoenix, AZ in Jan 2011.

How Police Radar Guns Are Made
Decatur Electronics 2009

Kustom Signals

In 1969, Kustom produced the first digital display radar, the TR-6. The TR-6 was also the first radar to use a solid-state electronic Gunn Oscillator rather than the Klystron tube of previous units. This was a single window stationary unit operating on the X-band.
Kustom Signals, Inc., headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, is a subsidiary of Public Safety Equipment, Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri. 

Dedicated to serving the public safety equipment needs of law enforcement since 1965, Kustom designs, manufactures and markets traffic speed radar, lidar, in-car video systems and mobile roadside speed monitoring trailers.

We introduced the first digital readout radar, the industry’s first moving radar, and the first hand-held option. In 1979, we introduced an instant-on function that added to an officer’s ability to track speeds on compulsion and, in 2008, we introduced the Raptor, the first two-piece radar with graphical display, target tracking bar and Dura Trak™.  

1990 was a year full of firsts for Kustom Signals in laser advancements: The first heads-up display, the first LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) with continuous tracking history, and the first with a settable range.

In 2006, we introduced the first binocular style speed enforcement laser weighing only 19 ounces. 2011 brought the rock star of industry recognition, the Innovation Award, for our ProLaser 4.

CMI. Inc., Minturn, Colorado (now MPH)

(Not to be confused with Cincinnati Microwave Inc who produced radar detectors)

CMI Speedgun
Model JF-100
CMI Speedgun
Rear Gauge
CMI was formed around 1970. Its first product was the Speedgun One, also known as the JF 100 for its designer Jack Fritzlen.

The Speedgun One, model JF-100, was the first handheld radar gun. The Speedgun One was also the first speed measurement radar to use a microprocessor. The Speedgun Two was the first handheld that could also be used as a moving radar.

In 1988, the radar operations of CMI were transferred to MPH. Today CMI only produces breath-alcohol test instruments at AlcoholTest.com.

MPH Industries

Police Radar K15
MPH was founded in 1976. The first product was the K-55, an X-band radar with a much smaller antenna than the Kustom Signals MR-7 that could be mounted inside the vehicle. The K-55 was the first radar to have “instant on” activation using an attached accessory called the ECM that was introduced in 1977. The ECM held a violator’s locked speed so that the radar’s target window could continue to track a signal. The ECM also had its own internal batteries and screen so a violator’s locked speed could be carried to them and displayed.

In 1984, MPH introduced several new products that brought new features to the market. These included the S-80, which was the first moving radar with three windows built into the radar itself. Others had done the tracking through lock with an accessory attachment. This new feature allowed the user to lock the target speed and continue to monitor the target for verification purposes. The S-80 was the first radar designed for use on a motorcycle and was the first with Radio Frequency Interference, Low Voltage and Harmonic detection. 

The BEE 36 radar was also introduced in 1984 and was the first unit to have the display separate from the counting unit allowing flexibility in mounting the unit into police cars that were being downsized due to fuel economy concerns. These also fit nicely into the compact Ford Mustangs used by many Highway Patrols at the time. MPH also introduced the first dual antenna units this same year.

In 1986, MPH introduced the K-15 II, the first handheld radar with a separate lock window for continuous tracking of target vehicles once the speed was locked.

While MPH remained competitive with the introduction of the Python, the next big breakthrough for MPH was in 1998 with the introduction of the POP technology on the Z-25 and Z-35 handhelds. This mode allows the radar to return a speed more quickly than a driver or radar detector can generally react. While not a substitute for a good continuous clock with tracking history, this mode allows an operator to confirm his visual estimate without alerting possible violators of the presence of radar speed enforcement in the area.

In 2001, MPH released the BEE III and the Enforcer, which are claimed to be the first fully upgradeable radars.

Applied Concepts, Inc. aka Stalker Radar

During the late-1980s, the radar industry went into a small depression. While many cut back staffs of engineers and other employees to save money, a new company was being formed with these experienced personnel. That company originally founded in 1970 as Applied Concepts, Inc., and introduced its first radar, the STALKER, in 1990. This was the first Ka-band radar on the market. Applied Concepts took these experienced personnel and began to introduce some of the best performing radars of the 1990s. 

They followed the STALKER with the STALKER DUAL in 1994 that easily outperformed anything on the market at the time and had the best fastest mode performance. In 1998 Applied Concepts introduced the first direction-sensing moving radar, the STALKER DSR. Applied Concepts also revitalized the speedometer interface by providing the DSR with the ability to automatically switch from moving to stationary mode. 

While Applied Concepts was not the first to introduce the speedometer interface, this interface is now more widely used, because of the ability to reduce the effects of Batching, Shadowing and Harmonic Errors, and the fact that the new digital speedometers in patrol cars make tapping into the system easier. 

The latest innovation introduced to the market by Applied Concepts occurred at this year’s IACP convention in Philadelphia when it introduced the STALKER 2X. This radar can clock on the front and rear antennas at the same time with two sets of windows for target and fastest speeds. The rear antenna can also be used as a collision alert system by sensing the differential speed between the patrol car and vehicles approaching from the rear. Interestingly, MPH claims to have built a dual window radar similar to the 2X many years ago and never brought it to market.

ICOP Digital, Inc. aka PoliceRadar.com

ICOP was founded in 2003 when Ken McCoy joined with Bud Ross. McCoy started McCoy’s Law Line in 2001 after leaving Applied Concepts. Ross and McCoy have a long association going back to 1969 when they both worked at Kustom Signals. ICOP Digital, Inc. continues to sell the units produced under the McCoy’s Law Line brand, the Speed Trak Elite K, Ka and KD.

One of the most experienced people still active in the radar industry, McCoy has worked at or with virtually every current supplier of Traffic Radar, working at CMI after Kustom Signals and being a co-founder of MPH. While not listing Decatur as an employer on his resume, the first units sold by McCoy’s Law Line used some components produced by Decatur including the antenna.  

Sports Radar, Ltd. Homosassa, FL

Tracer SRA-3000 radar gun

1972 Handheld Police Radar Guns

The first police radar units in 1946 took two officers to operate. One officer had the device in or near his patrol car, usually the "antenna" was in the trunk or mounted outside, and the gauge display was inside. This patrolman usually radioed an officer in a separate vehicle to stop the speeder.

The first single-person "radar gun" with a convenient "instant-on" trigger, was introduced in 1972.

Big Oil Helped the Radar Industry?g11Back to Top

The Oil Embargo of 1973 brought about national speed limit law in 1974 where 55 mph was the maximum speed on the nation's highways.

The federal government began to issue grants to police departments around the country in order to bu new radar equipment to ensure that the public was lowering their speeds to conserve fuel.

Portable Radar Used for Sports 1970sBack to Top

The introduction of the handheld, trigger operated police radar in 1972, led a forward-thinking baseball man to develop a version for measuring the speed of baseball pitches in 1974.

Danny Litwhiler - Sports Radar Pioneer 1974

Daniel (Danny) Webster Litwhiler, played college baseball and graduated in 1939 with a Science degree, was an MLB player from 1940 to 1951, playing in the 1942 All Star game and the 1944 World Series, was the first major leaguer to have an error-free season.

He coached FSU from 1955 to 1963, and led them to three College World Series appearances.

He coached Michigan State University from 1964 to 1982, and holds the record for wins. Among his former players are Steve Garvey and Kirk Gibson.

Coach Litwhiler was also a prodigious inventor:
  • In 1942, he was the first MLB player to stitch together the fingers of his glove
  • In 1956, developed Diamond Grit field drying agent
  • On Nov 6, 1962, he received a patent for the baseball batting cage
  • Most famously, in 1974, he invented the hand-held radar gun for baseball, together with John Paulson of the JUGs company
Danny Litwhiler
The Tampa Bay Times in their 9/27/2011 obituary Former FSU coach Danny Litwhiler conceived radar gun for pitchers said
He was also a prolific creator of baseball products, and is credited with conceiving the radar gun as a tool to measure the speed of pitches.

In the early 1970s, he saw a photo in the Michigan State student newspaper about radar guns used by campus police to catch speeders.

"He said, 'I wonder if that could be used to time a baseball,' " said Patricia Litwhiler, his wife.

Mr. Litwhiler enlisted the help of a technically savvy friend, John Paulson, developer of the JUGS pitching machine, to create a prototype. Pitch tracking by radar soon spread through baseball.

JUGS Inc. continued to pay Mr. Litwhiler a royalty for his role in conceiving the radar device. 

An undated SABR article by Glen Vasey titled simply Danny Litwhiler indicates that this radar gun is in the HOF.
One of his gloves, perhaps the first to ever have its fingers tied together, is on display in the Hall of Records in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

That same museum owns, as another gift from Litwhiler, the prototype of the JUGGS Speed Gun, the first radar gun developed for use as a baseball-teaching tool by Litwhiler and a friend.

Lou Pavlovich, Jr. Editor of Collegiate Baseball, in his 1/6/2012 article, Baseball’s Great Inventor Of All Time credits Danny Litwhiler with the invention of the radar gun for baseball/sports.
Danny [Litwhiler] came up with the concept of a baseball radar gun in 1974.

He had read in the Michigan St. student newspaper about a campus policeman pointing a new device at cars called a radar gun to catch speeders. Suddenly, an intriguing idea popped in his mind. Why not use such a radar gun to check the velocity of pitched balls?

He immediately sprang into action and contacted a local police officer about coming to his baseball field to run an experiment. The officer drove over near the field and then was instructed to point the radar gun at one of his pitchers to determine the velocity of his pitches.

Initially the gun registered 75 mph. But the reading was on a flat portion of the field. So Litwhiler asked the police ofrficer to drive his car near the pitcher’s mound since the radar gun was attached to the lighter in the car.

This time, the pitches registered 85 mph. The gun caught about 75 percent of pitches thrown. Litwhiler immediately wrote to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn about the discovery to let every Major League club know so one team would not have an advantage over the other.

Litwhiler then contacted John Paulson, inventor of the JUGS Pitching Machine, to see if he would be interested in making a radar gun for baseball.

"I told him of the radar gun idea for baseball, and he was interested," said Litwhiler. "It took us several months to get the radar gun to the point where it would track a baseball every time. The radar gun had to be re-tuned. So it went back and forth until it was perfected. John came up with a portable gun that could be used any place on the field or indoors. It operated on a rechargeable battery."

Litwhiler said the radar gun was initially used to chart the speeds of different pitches (fastballs, sliders, curves, changeups, etc.) to see if they complimented each other. He found that the speed differential of pitches was important in getting batters out. Also, the gun was used to check how quickly an infielder could throw a ball to first base, a catcher fire a ball to second or outfielders throwing balls to home.

Over the years, the radar gun has become a staple of scouting prospects. The portable prototype was developed in 1975 which picked up 99 out of 100 pitches. Thousands and thousands have been sold across the world since that time.

Danny Knobler of The Bleacher Report wrote an in-depth article on 9/10/2014 The Radar Gun Revolution saying:
Danny Litwhiler is generally credited with adapting the modern radar gun to baseball. Litwhiler was the coach at Michigan State in 1973, and when he saw campus police using radar to time speeding cars, he quickly understood that the devices might be applied to baseball. Litwhiler saw it mostly as a teaching tool, one that would allow his pitchers to measure the velocity difference between their fastballs and changeups.

He contacted John Paulson, whose JUGS company made pitching machines that were already in regular use. Litwhiler paid the MSU police for one of their early guns, which he sent to Paulson to be adapted for use in timing baseball pitches.

The original JUGS gun is now on display at the Hall of Fame.

Litwhiler understood almost immediately that the radar gun could be revolutionary. He wrote to MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in hopes of alerting all major league teams, and he traveled to spring training in 1975 to show it off to big league managers, coaches and executives.

Orioles manager Earl Weaver was an early adopter, but like Litwhiler, he saw the gun as most valuable for making sure there was a big enough differential between a pitcher's fastball and his changeup. He also saw it as a useful tool to help determine whether a pitcher was tiring.

Radar guns were expensive then, as much as $1,500 each (while a professional model may still cost that much, cheaper versions are available online today for less than $100).

In his book Weaver on Strategy, the Orioles manager wrote that it took him six years to convince the front office to provide them to the clubs' minor league teams. And in the days before velocities were listed on every scoreboard, he couldn't convince the Orioles to send someone on the road with the big league team to operate a gun and signal its reading to the dugout.

The early versions of the gun would also offer wildly different readings. For many years, you had to specify whether a reading came from the "fast gun" made by JUGS or the "slow gun" made by Decatur. Some teams and scouts used one, some the other, with the difference in readings said to result from whether the pitch speed was measured right out of the pitcher's hand or when it crossed the plate.

Since the teams only cared about comparing one pitcher to another, the difference hardly mattered as long as each of their scouts used the same model.

But if you're trying to compare pitchers from different eras, those small differences can make all the difference in the world.

Litwhiler's Son's Recollection of Events

Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com Inquirer Staff Writer, wrote in his October 24, 2013 article A look back at the man who created the radar gun
Born in Ringtown, Pa., the seventh son of a seventh son, Litwhiler died in 2011 at 95.

With the Phillies in 1942, Litwhiler played every inning of every game in the outfield without committing an error, the first major-leaguer to achieve the feat.

But his innovations, and in particular his introduction of the radar gun, have won him a special immortality.

That funny-looking glove he used while setting the record is in the Hall of Fame. And, looking as odd as an iPad among the rustic baseball artifacts, so is the cumbersome radar gun that changed baseball forever.

Brainstorm strikes

Litwhiler had his eureka moment in the early '70s, when the then-Michigan State baseball coach was visiting his oldest son, Daniel, an officer at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

"He was driving me around campus," Daniel Litwhiler, a retired brigadier general who still lives in Colorado Springs, recalled last week, "and I said, 'Dad, be careful. The police here are equipped with radar. If you're speeding, they're going to catch you.' He looked at me and I could see that put a bug in his head."

The anti-speeding application had grown out of radar's widespread use in World War II. By the late 1940s, highway police in Connecticut and New York were employing radar devices. In the ensuing decades, they became traffic-enforcement mainstays.

Returning to East Lansing, Litwhiler asked campus police whether they, too, used the contraptions. Informed that they did, he borrowed one.

"He said, 'Let's see if they work on a baseball,' " his son said.

A baseball lifer, Litwhiler knew velocity was perhaps a pitcher's greatest asset. By accurately measuring it, managers, coaches, scouts, and pitchers themselves could gain an advantage.

He employed the gun during a Spartans practice and was delighted to find it could time pitches as easily as it measured how fast a 1970 Torino was traveling on University Drive.

"Wow," Litwhiler thought. "I can use this."

Soon he was working with JUGS Sports, an Oregon company that specialized in pitching machines, to develop a mechanism better-suited to baseball.

The result, introduced in 1974, was a bulky, wired device that looked like a cross of a pistol, a bullhorn, and a blow-dryer.

Litwhiler never got a patent since what he devised was merely an alternative use for an existing technology. But for the rest of his life, according to his son, he got monthly royalty checks from JUGS.

The JUGS Gun has long been the baseball standard. A 2013 version, according to the company's website, sells for $1,095 and can accurately measure a pitch's velocity within a foot of the pitcher's hand.

After his discovery, Litwhiler contacted baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn.

"Once he knew it could work, he didn't think it would be fair for one team to be able to use it against another," Daniel Litwhiler said. "So he called up the commissioner and said, 'Listen, I've got this thing that can change baseball.' "

Backers and detractors

With Kuhn's blessing, Litwhiler toured spring-training facilities. Some teams took to the gadget quicker than others.

"For some reason, Earl Weaver at Baltimore was one of the first to really appreciate it," Daniel Litwhiler said. "I know Jim Palmer [a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher] really loved having it. He's said it helped him a great deal."

But many in baseball's conservative establishment, particularly old-school, seat-of-the-pants scouts, initially rejected it. Scouts, who then graded velocity on a scale of 1 to 6, felt the modern contrivance was no match for a well-honed instinct.

The mechanism wouldn't gain a broader acceptance until later in the 1970s, after Texas Rangers scout Hal Keller, based on what a radar gun was telling him, persuaded skeptical team officials to sign pitcher Danny Darwin.

Darwin won 171 games in a 21-year career.

"He was skeptical, as all older people are of new inventions," Keller's widow, Carol, told the Washington Post last year. "Like a lot of scouts those days, he had a radar gun in his mind. He just knew how fast a pitcher was throwing. But then he sat behind a scout who was using one and he was convinced."

Litwhiler played 11 major-league seasons with the Phillies, Cardinals, Braves, and Reds. As a longtime college coach, he led Michigan State and Florida State to 10 NCAA tournaments.

And for those who knew him, his early acceptance of radar was no surprise.

"Dad was just one of those people who always had a lot of ideas," his son said. "He had a tremendous curiosity."

Mike Marshall's Recollection at MSU

On April 3, 2011 MSU alumnus and former Cy Young winner Mike Marshall offered this version of how the now-ubiquitous radar gun got its start in baseball on his website Q&A 2011.
In 1967, at Michigan State University, I took my first high-speed film.  In 1971, I took the high-speed film that launched my major league career.  Shortly thereafter, Professor Bill Heusner had me present my findings to the College of Education monthly symposium.

Shortly thereafter, for his Master thesis project, Professor Wayne Van Huss helped Mickey Sinks, a Michigan State University baseball pitcher, design a device that measure release velocity.

Professor Van Huss taught me undergraduate and graduate Exercise Physiology.  He asked me to help monitor Mr. Sinks work.  After seeing Professor Van Huss's device, I told him and Mr. Sinks that they should use the radar gun that the police use.

Michigan State University Head Baseball Coach, Danny Litwhiler had a friend in the Michigan State Police Department that headquartered about two blocks from the MSU baseball field.  The rest is history.

Tom Verducci gave a slightly different account on Litwhiler

In Tom Verducci's 4/4/2011 Sports Illustrated article Radar Love, he had this to say about Danny Litwhiler:
Michigan State coach Danny Litwhiler, a former major league outfielder, borrowed the radar gun used by campus cops and clocked his pitchers from inside a car parked behind the backstop. Police had been using the guns since at least the 1950s. Aimed at a moving object, they send a beam of electromagnetic waves that bounce off an object and back to the gun, which measures the frequency shift in the waves that return to calculate the speed of the object.

Litwhiler found the gun did not always give a reading on pitched balls, so he called CMI Inc., the Colorado company that manufactured it, and learned that it could be recalibrated to read smaller objects. Litwhiler made the adjustment, and that prototype is now in the Hall of Fame. Litwhiler made one more change. Radar guns at the time were powered through the cigarette lighters in cars. He asked the JUGS company, which produced pitching machines, to develop a battery-powered radar gun. Within a decade JUGS would become synonymous with pitch tracking, the guns standard issue for big league scouts.

in the spring of 1975, Michigan State played a tournament in Florida, and Litwhiler brought his gun. He called up Earl Weaver, the manager of the Orioles, who trained in Miami, and said, "I've got something to show you." Weaver loved the device. He used it on his pitchers, his outfielders and even a plane as it descended. "All of our scouts," Weaver recalls, "no matter who it was, they would always say, 'This guy throws as hard as [Jim] Palmer.' I once put the radar gun on one of them, and he threw about eight or nine miles an hour slower than Palmer."

Weaver used the gun as a managing tool. He liked knowing if one of his starters was losing velocity late in a game and might need to be pulled. He especially liked using the radar gun to ensure that Baltimore's pitchers kept a wide gap in speed between their fastball and their breaking pitches. "When [Mike] Cuellar threw his screwball a little too hard and it didn't break," Weaver says, "you could tell right away on the radar gun."

The Orioles and the Dodgers were two of the early radar gunslingers. In 1975, in a unique intersection of two of the most important developments in pitching, Tommy John operated a radar gun behind home plate at Dodger Stadium while recuperating from the first elbow-reconstruction surgery, the procedure that would come to bear his name. He would predict rallies when he saw a pitcher's velocity drop late in a game. By '78 nine teams were using radar guns, and by the early '80s the tool had become essential, especially for scouts. (John was replaced by Mike Brito, a scout who sported a Panama hat and smoked a cigar in his field-level box behind home plate in L.A., lending panache to the job.)

Early Radar Guns in the Baseball Hall of Fame 1970s-1990sBack to Top

The JUGS SPEEDGUN Radar Gun 1975 ong10

JUGS original radar gun 1970s
probably 1981 World Series game 3, 4 or 5 in Dodger Stadium
per JUGS About Us page

Scout Bob Fontaine

Speedgun Radar
Bob Fontaine Jr
The Baseball Hall of Fame - scout section includes a radar gun used by scout Bob Fontaine Jr during his tenure with the Angels in the 1990s.

Earl Weaver - Orioles Manager

Earl Weaver 1975
Baseball Hall of Fame
The Baseball Hall of Fame says that Earl Weaver, longtime manager of the Baltimore Orioles first used a radar gun in 1975
during 1975 spring training in Miami, Florida, Earl Weaver pioneered the use of radar guns in professional baseball to track the speed of pitches

Ralph Avila - Dodgers Scout

Ralph Avila ProSpeed Gun 1970s
Baseball Hall of Fame
Ralph Avila
The Baseball Hall of Fame says that Ralph Avila, scout for the Dodgers donated his Prospeed radar gun he used in the 1970s
The Dodgers hired Cuban-born Ralph Avila as a scout in 1970. Two years later, Los Angeles assigned him to the Dominican Republic, where he became a leader in creating the modern academy system.

[they show pictures of the] radar gun and stopwatch used by Ralph Avila beginning in the early 1970s

Baseball Radar - Fast Guns vs. Slow Gunsg12Back to Top

Stalker Explains
Stalker explains 'fast' guns vs. 'slow' guns
Many are familiar with the Decatur Ragun and the JUGS Gun and how they read on pitches.

The reason different radar guns read different speeds is because they are taking readings at different places during the pitch.

Target Acquisition Time is what determines how quickly a radar can lock onto a target speed. The JUGS Gun responds relatively quick, taking the ball speed at about 7 feet after release.

The Decatur Ragun responds very slowly, taking it's reading between 30 and 50 feet after release. With the STALKER's extremely fast target acquisition, it can get the ball speed at
about 7 inches, displaying that speed in the peak display and then freezing the true ending plate speed on the lower display.

Baseball Radar Productsg13Back to Top

Stalker Radar 1989 on

Stalker ATR
The Stalker Company profile says
Applied Concepts, Inc., formed in 1977, introduced the first Stalker radar to the law enforcement industry in 1989.

Stalker Radar has become the dominant Doppler radar system

For the past 36 years, Applied Concepts, Inc. (dba Stalker Radar) has been designing and manufacturing high quality electronics from our facility in Plano, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. Stalker Radar is now the nation’s largest manufacturer of speed radar.

In 1989, Stalker Radar pioneered the use of digital signal processing (DSP) with Doppler speed radar with the revolutionary Stalker ATR Ka band police radar. Since the ATR radar, Stalker Radar has continued to lead the industry with the development of digital antenna communication, microstrip antenna design, double balanced mixers, and most recently, digital direction sensing Doppler radar. Stalker radars are clearly the most sophisticated and advanced available, boasting the highest level of performance and accuracy.
Stalker Radar Timeline

Inside a Radar Gun


Combo Radar and Video used by MLB Scouting Bureau
in the HOF
From the Baseball Hall of Fame article Diamond Mines - Scouting History
Because scouting is so labor intensive, teams experimented with pooling their resources in the 1960s, then created the Major League Scouting Bureau in 1974. Today the bureau employs nearly 50 full- and part-time scouts across North and South America, and its reports are made available to all 30 clubs. This combination video camera, radar gun and stopwatch was used by bureau scouts to film amateur, pro and international players from 2009 to 2012.

HOF exhibit scout radar gun
Scouts with Radar Guns
Pete Dougherty in his 5/2/2013 TimesUnion article Scouts getting due in Hall -New exhibit highlights work of those who found the top baseball talent has a picture of a scout's gear including a radar gun in the new Hall of Fame Diamond Mines exhibit.

Radar for the Masses (Dads)Back to Top

Bushnell Radar Guns 2002

Bushnell Speedster Radar
The Bushnell Speedster was introduced April 5, 2002 (it was listed on their website as early as Feb 2002.) Dusty Baker was involved in the launch.

USPTO Patent April 16, 2002
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Bushnell Performance Optics
 is introducing the Speedster, a sleek and versatile speed gun designed to  track pitching speeds, cars at the racetrack, serves on the tennis court or wherever your desire to track speed takes you.

The Speedster uses digital technology and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) to provide instantaneous and real-time speed measurements within one MPH.

This 13-ounce speed gun does much more than track speed.  Its stat-tracking feature allows you to record pitch counts, tennis serves and other statistics.

Additional features include a highly legible four-row LCD graphics display and a two-way button pad to scroll through the features.

"The Speedster is easy to use and perfect for coaches, parents and sports fans alike," said Phil Gyori, Bushnell vice president of marketing.  "It's ideal for the ballpark, racetrack or in your backyard."
Athletes and coaches will find the Speedster an invaluable tool to gauge improvement and development.

"There are a lot of factors that go into evaluating talent, but speed is certainly a major component," said Dusty Baker, manager for Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants.  "The Speedster makes it easy for scouts and coaches of all levels to accurately gauge a pitcher's development."

For more information about the Speedster, visit www.bushnell.com , or contact Derek Hall at 816.960.3125 or by e-mail at dhall@bwcom.com.

A Bushnell Speedster product description from 2003
The Bushnell® Speedster™ is a handy, multi-functional speed gun for all kinds of sports enthusiasts.
 Tracks miles (or kilometers) per hour of everything from pitching speeds, tennis serves and downhill skiers to cars at the racetrack. Measures the speed of a baseball at 6-110 mph from over 75 feet away and the speed of a race car from 6-200 mph at over 1300 feet away. Also lets you keep statistics for baseball and softball. Features highly legible 4-row LCD graphics display, trigger and 2-way button pad. The Bushnell Speedster uses digital technology and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) to provide instantaneous and real-time speed measurements of +/- 1.0 mph speed accuracy.

Bushnell Speedster Radar
Product specs for the 10-1907 Speedster
Specifications for Bushnell Speedster Radar Speed Gun 10-1907 :

    Compact & Ergonomic Radar gun design
    Accurately Measures speed
    Displays Speed on an LCD Graphics Display
    Radar Gun Accuracy: 1 MPH
    Detects speed of Baseball / Softball / Tennis: 6-110 MPH (10-176 KPH)
    Auto Racing Speed: 6-200 MPH (10-320 KPH)
    Statistics Mode: Baseball / Softball
    Speed Gun Size (in/mm): 3.5x7.2x4.3 / 89x182x110
    Radar Gun Wt. (oz/g): 13/369
    Battery Type: AA (6)

Our Bushnell Speedster radar guns 101907 come with is a carrying case. It is a nylon case that fits tight to the Bushnell Speedster. It has a velcro lid that shuts. The Bushnell Speedster Logo is on the front of it. There is an adjustable strap with it as well. Take it with you anywhere!

These are brand new Bushnell Speedster radar guns (Bushnell Part # 10-1907) with full 2-year warranty from Bushnell 
A quote from Dusty Baker in their 2003 website
“I took the Bushnell Speedster to a mini-camp with some of my scouts and coaches; all I can say is we had to order more because everyone was fighting over who was going to keep it.”

Dusty Baker
Manager - San Francisco Giants
[Model #10-1907 Baseball Stats Mode]

Bushnell Speedster III Radar
Introduced 8/2010
Bushnell Speedster II and Velocity Radar
approx. 2006

Pocket Radar 2010

Pocket Radar
The Pocket Radar was introduced in Jan 2010 as the first palm held radar device. The inventor describes the product launch:
It has been a very exciting time since we first officially launched the product in January at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. As a new start-up company, we were honored to be named an Innovation’s Honoree by the Consumer Electronics Association in 2010, and we were swarmed by throngs of national and international media throughout the entire four day show. It was quite an experience and served to validate that we definitely had a hit on our hands — correction, we had a hit in the “palm” of our hand.

Still, my personal favorite was that Pocket Radar was awarded the 2010 “Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award”.

Pocket Radar product launch
2010 Consumer Electronics Show
Here is the product description as of Sep 2014.
Pocket Radar™ is the world's smallest full performance radar gun. This award-winning device delivers the same great accuracy and performance as other professional radar guns, at a fraction of the size and cost. Perfect for a wide variety of applications including traffic safety, R/C hobbies and running sports. Manual trigger: you time what you want to measure and when you want to measure it.

 (If you want to measure Ball Speeds then the Ball Coach™ radar is a better choice). Accurate to within +/- 1 mph, it gives over 10,000 readings on a single set of batteries. Includes a hardshell case, wrist strap, 2 AAA alkaline batteries, and an illustrated Quick Start Guide. 

Mobile Phone AppsBack to Top

Athla Velocity for iPhone 2014

Athla Velocity Radar
In a TechCruch article 9/8/2014 Athla’s Velocity Mimics $1,200 Radar Equipment For The Price Of A Fancy Coffee you can now buy an app for your iPhone for $6.99 that measures speed.

Athla website
We’ve all seen the speed of a pitch in baseball recorded, either in person or on TV, and most have probably seen the radar gun used to clock the ball’s velocity. That tech is expensive, however, with systems ranging to around $1,200 to measure the speed of smashes, hits and kicks in sports ranging from baseball, to tennis to soccer. Athla, launching today at Disrupt SF, is a startup that uses existing hardware standard on any iPhone to replicate the functions of these expensive radar guns, using only a piece of software called ‘Velocity’, with sport-specific in-app purchases that cost only $6.99 apiece to unlock.

The man behind Athla is Michael Gillam, a medical doctor who has worked in tech for much of his career, following his residency in emergency medicine at Northwestern University. Gillam was Director of Research at the National Institute of Medical Informatics, took on graduate studies at Singularity University, the academic institution co-founded by futurist Ray Kurzweil. After that, he spent time as the Director of Healthcare Innovation at Microsoft’s lab designed for that purpose, and he acted as a judge for Nokia’s Xprise challenge in the category of personal health sensing technology.

Velocity is the project Gillam came up with, which took two years of bootstrapped development to get where it is today. During that time, Gillam saw Moore’s Law in action – the original iPhone 4S camera could only read speeds of up to around 50MPH, while the iPhone 5 can manage up to 120MPH. The next iPhone, Gillam predicts, will probably be able to manage nearly twice that.

SourcesBack to Top

  • (g1) first ticket 1899 1904 -
    In a 5/20/2014 Yahoo Auto article May 20: The first U.S. speeding ticket was written on this date in 1899 by Justin Hyde
    The men behind the Electric Vehicle Co. thought they had the 20th century by the scruff of the neck. After two inventors had fashioned a working electric vehicle in 1894, they formed an electric taxicab company in New York that grew enough to win backing from a wealthy industrialist. As of 1899, there were 60-odd electric taxicabs dubbed "Electrobats" in the city, and while they were heavy and slow by modern standards, they were a marvel of luxury compared to staring at a horse's behind over cobblestone streets.
    On this day in 1899, a taxi driver named Jacob German was flagged down by a New York City police officer — Bicycle Roundsman Schuessler — who found his cab to be traveling at an unacceptable speed, which the officer estimated at 12 mph. German would receive America's first citation for speeding in a car, a historical note that has outlived the Electric Vehicle company, which foundered and collapsed a couple of years later. (Today, there are only two electric cars in use as cabs in all of New York City.) You can catch a glimpse of an EV taxi at work — and see why 12 mph would have been so fast — in this famous clip shot by Thomas Edison of 23rd Street in 1901.
    Per The Tammany Times 1/15/1900 p.30
    Conspicous among the Police Bicycle Squad is John Scheussler, who was one of the first to be appointed to the force in 1896.
    Previous to his appointment to cycle duty, he did patrol service on the regular police force, and was made Roundsman in 1897.
    Since his appointment to the Bicycle Squad he has been active in stopping runaways and saving many lives, for which service he has received several medals by the Police Board and resolutions of Honorable Mention.
    Per Cars Yeah 6/2014 article Jacob German and Patience
    On May 20, 1899 the first American ever arrested for speeding was Jacob German.  Jacob was a 26 year old New York City taxi driver who worked for the Electric Vehicle Company.  On that day, he was hauled off to jail for speeding down Lexington Street in Manhattan, for going 12 miles an hour.
    The posted speed limit was 8 mph.
    Per Examiner 5/20/2009 article May 20, 1899 New York cabbie first to be arrested for speeding by Marguerite Dunbar
    Wednesday, May 20th of this year marks the 110th anniversary of the first known arrest for speeding. Jacob German, a New York taxi driver, was arrested in 1899 after being caught doing 12 mph on Lexington Avenue.
    German drove for the Electric Vehicle Company. The company had been founded by Henry G. Morris and Pedro G. Salom. In 1897, the company leased its cabs in New York City, according to John B. Rae, Associate Professor of History at MIT in his essay The Electric Vehicle Company: A Monopoly that Missed.
    The first taximeter was invented in 1891, and the name "taxicab" was coined using "taxi" from "taximeter" and "cab" from "cabriolet," a horse-drawn carriage in which the driver stands in the back. 
    In Hemmings 6/30/2010 article Electric Avenue, 1905
    As for the electric cab, it appears to be an evolution of the Electrobat, considered to be the first successful electric vehicle. The builder was likely the Electric Vehicle Company of New York City, which bought the rights to the Electrobat in 1897 and was eventually bought by Columbia. However, we see that Electric Vehicle Company contracted Specialty Electric from Cincinnati to build its cabs, so they likely contracted with other companies as well. Ben Merkel and Chris Monier’s book, “The American Taxi: A Century of Service,” has a couple additional photos of these cabs and notes that they used 800 pounds of lead-acid batteries, steered with the rear wheels, drove through the front, had a top speed of about 15 MPH and took eight hours to recharge. About 200 were on the streets of Manhattan in 1900, but they seem to have gone extinct by about 1910.
    In Lit Zippo 9/14/2014 article Henry H. Bliss & Mary Ward: The Unlucky Automotive Firsts
    The first run of electric taxi cabs in new York was Samuel’s Electric Carriage and Wagon Company, which ran 12 “hansom cabs” starting summer 1897. In 1898, the company had reformed into the Electric Vehicle Company, and had begun building the Electrobat Electric Car, the first successful electric automobile. Running up to 100 of these cabs by 1899, It’s quite possible that one of these much larger four-wheeled taxicabs was the offending vehicle that struck down Henry Bliss 115 years ago today.
    In Wired 5/21/2008 article May 21, 1901: Connecticut Sets First Speed Limit at 12 MPH
    1901: Connecticut passes the first U.S. state law regulating motor vehicles. It sets a speed limit of 12 mph in cities and a whopping 15 mph outside.
    Arrests for speeding in motor vehicles also precede the Connecticut law. Cabbie Jacob German was arrested and jailed in New York City May 20, 1899, for driving his electric taxi at the "breakneck speed" of 12 mph.
    The first known auto manufactured with a speedometer was the curved-dash 1901 Oldsmobile, from the very year of the Connecticut speed limit. But the fancy device remained a luxury option at least through the first decade of the 20th century.
    In 1/25/2012 Jalopnik article How A New York Taxi Company Killed The Electric Car In 1900
    New York City is proud of its six upcoming Nissan Leaf cabs, but more than a hundred years ago an all-electric fleet of taxis served the city using technology that even today would still be considered cutting edge.
    In the early 20th century, electric cars were actually mainstream. In 1900, there were more electric automobiles on New York City streets than cars powered by gasoline. True, there were only 4,192 cars sold in the United States that year, but 1,575 of them were electric. The advantages were obvious — electrics were quiet, clean, and easy to use. Battery power looked like the ideal choice for personal urban transportation (For what it's worth, both electrics and gas-engined cars were both beaten in sales by steam-powered cars — 1,681 of them
    Street car tycoon, playboy and former Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney saw a business opportunity in using electric vehicles as taxis, and bought up a short-on-cash New York City electric cab company run by two engineers, Morris & Salom. With $200 million in assets, Whitney renamed the company the Electric Vehicle Company and dreamt of a taxi cab monopoly in every major American city. He hoped that New York would be his first success.
    Whitney thought he had found a solution to the key obstacle of battery-powered electric cars, limited range. Instead of stopping every few hours to charge an electric car's massive lead-acid batteries, cars would swap out empty batteries for charged ones, not unlike Shai Agassi's Project Better Place battery-swap concept.
    At the end of every shift, the taxi driver would return to the central battery storage facility on Broadway and switch his spent battery for a rested, recharged one, much like a horse-drawn taxi driver would return to a central stable. The company could keep the cabs running around the clock since they only had to only to rest the batteries and not the automobiles themselves
    In LA Times 12/11/2011 article Back to an electric future for cars
    In 1900, more battery-powered electric cars ran on the streets of New York City than cars with internal combustion engines, and over the next few years there was a fierce race for supremacy between them. But the arrival in 1908 of Henry Ford's Model T turned the gasoline-powered car into an affordable mass-market product and made the electric car a historical curiosity.
    In Ohio History article World's First Speeding Ticket
    The world's first speeding ticket was issued in Dayton, Ohio in 1904.
    Throughout most of the twentieth century, the city of Detroit, Michigan, was synonymous with American automobile manufacturing. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that was not the case. Instead, Ohio innovators in Cleveland and elsewhere were at the forefront of this new form of transportation technology.
    Because of Ohio's important role in the early automobile industry, the state was the site of numerous firsts in automobile history. Among these firsts was the first speeding ticket for an automobile driver. In 1904, Dayton, Ohio, police ticketed Harry Myers for going twelve miles per hour on West Third Street.
    12 mph speed limit sign per Florida Memories in Tallahassee, FL

    Picture of NY Times article 5/21/1899 Automobile Driver Arrested

    Per the NE Historical Society Flashback Photo: Connecticut Cracks Down on the Horseless Carriage With the 1st Speed Limit
    On May 21, 1901, the Connecticut Legislature passed a speed limit law aimed at mitigating a brand-new menace on the roads: the automobile.
    It was the first numerical speed limit in the United States, and it was first enacted in Connecticut for a reason. Horseless carriage manufacturers were springing up all across turn-of-the-century New England, and New Englanders were buying – and driving — their products.
    A 1917 trade publication refers to New England as ‘the great manufacturing center’ of the early days of the industry. By 1901, new cars were made from the Pawtucket Steamboat Co. in Pawtucket, R.I., to the Lane and Dailey Motor Co. in Barre, Vt.
    Western Massachusetts and Connecticut were especially fertile territory for ambitious automotive startups. Frank Duryea built automobiles with internal combustion engines in several western Massachusetts factories, while The Holyoke Automobile Co. was making the Tourist Surrey and the Tourer in Holyoke, Mass. The Loomis Auto Car Co. in Westfield, Mass., produced the Loomis Runabout. Hartford’s leading auto manufacturer, the Columbia Automobile Company was pumping out hundreds of touring cars, runabouts and ‘gasoline electric vehicles.’
    Siteamer manufacturers proliferated as steam engines had been around for awhile and their technology was well understood. By 1901, the Locomobile Company had just moved from Watertown, Mass., to Bridgeport, Conn., to mass-produce the finicky steam cars. Steamers were also made in New Haven, Conn., by the Kidder Motor Vehicle Co. ; in Melrose, Mass., by the Clark Automobile Co.; in Easton, Mass., by the Eclipse Automobile Co.; in Chicopee Falls, Mass., by the Overman Automobile Co.; and in Keene, N.H., by the Keene Automobile Co.
  • (g2) motorcycles 1906 on -
    Per Indian History and Indian History Timeline
    New York Police Department selects Indian Motorcycle® for first motorcycle police unit.
    The New York City Police Department buys two Indian Twins to chase down runaway horses.
    New York Police Department selects Indians for first motorcycle police unit.
    Per Yonkers NY Police History
    On July 12, 1906 the Yonkers Board of Police Commissioners reported they had purchased our first motorcycle, an "Indian" for $217.00 which included tools and a new device called a speedometer. We had been patrolling on foot, horseback and bicycle. However, with the surge of automobile ownership, speeding became a big problem. The speed limit in the city was 8 MPH, outlying streets allowed 15 MPH. Police bicycles could not catch the speeders but motorcycles could travel 50 MPH on level ground, and 30 MPH uphill. The motorcycle could corner without slowing down, whereas auto's had to slow down in the turns or they would simply turnover.
    Our first Motorcycle Officer was Patrolman Joseph Vansteenburgh who was appointed December 1, 1901. He worked 9am to 5pm and could always catch a speeder on Warburton Ave. Also, with his speedometer he never lost in court. 
  • (g3) Invention of radar WW2 -
    Per Radar World Radar World Germany
    FuMG, "Funkmessgeraet," "Freya" radar. Eight Freya radar units were deployed along the western German border in 1938. This was the first operational radar systems. The Freya and Seetakt radars were built by the GEMA company and over 6,000 units were used during WWII. Harry von Kroge has written an excellent book titled, "GEMA: Birthplace of German Radar and Sonar." 
    Per Radar World Christian Hulsmeyer the Inventor

    Per Oct 1935 Modern Mechanix magazine Mystery Rays See Enemy Aircraft p.55

    Per Sep 1935 Electronics magazine Microwaves to Protect Aircraft pp.284-285

    Per Radar World Hollman US patent cavity magnetron and Radar Tutorials US patent 2123728 applied 11/27/1936, granted on July 12, 1938
    German patent 11/29/35

    Patent trading GE/Telefunken - Per Radar World England radar

    Per German Museum in Munich Marine Technology
    First radar device ("Telemobiloscope") by Christian Hülsmeyer, 1904
    Mechanix Illustrated article in Sep 1945 'At Last - The Story of Radar' In Sep 2005 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration article Federal Role in Speed Management
    From 1942 to 1945, the War Department ordered a nationwide speed limit of 35 miles per hour (mph) to conserve rubber and gasoline for the war effort. 
    Per the Baltimore Afro-American 7/27/1943 article 'Fine 3 Violators of Victory Speed Limit'
    BALTIMORE- Three persons were fined Monday night on charges of exceeding the victory speed limit of 35 miles per hour at hearings conducted by the OPA hearing panel attorneys at War Price and Rationing Board 1, 1400 Charles Street.
    The gasoline rations of Samuel Latham, 719 1/2 Saratoga Street, were suspended for thirty days and six C coupons were taken from him when he admitted driving sixty miles an hour on July 7.
    Per NY Times 11/27/1942 Full 'Gas' Rationing Dec. 1 Ordered by the President
    FDR statement:
    Following submission of the Baruch Rubber Report to me in September, I asked that mileage rationing be extended throughout the nation. Certain printing and transportation problems made it necessary to delay the program until Dec. 1. 
    With every day that passes, our need for this rubber conservation measure grows more acute. It is the Army's need and the Navy's need. They must have rubber. We, as civilians, must conserve our tires.
    "The Baruch Committee said: 'We find the existing situation to be so dangerous that unless corrective measures are taken immediately this country will face both a military and civilian collapse. In rubber we are a have-not nation.'
    "Since then the situation has become more acute, not less. Since then our military requirements for rubber have become greater, not smaller. Since then many tons of precious rubber have been lost through driving not essential to the war effort. We must keep every pound we can on our wheels to maintain our wartime transportation system. 
    The facts," Mr. Jeffers said, "are simple. With only a trickle of new rubber coming in, with our synthetic rubber plants still in construction, we are going to have to get along on the rubber we have. That means that the vast majority of our 27,000,000 passenger cars and 5,000,000 trucks are going to have to run from now until mid-1944 on the tires now in use.
    "That's the reason, and the only reason, for the entire rubber conservation programs. That's the reason nationwide gasoline rationing will go into effect Dec. 1. That's the reason for the thirty-five-mile speed limit and for periodic tire inspection." 
    1940 Tucker and Furth 'radar' - per book: When Computers Went to Sea: The Digitization of the United States Navy, 1991, by David L. Boslaugh p. 15 The Baby Gets a Name

    Terms 'RDF' and 'radar', plus war development, plus Telfunken press release 1935, per book: Technical and Military Imperatives: A Radar History of World War 2, 1999, by Louis Brown, pp.79,82,83

    PreWWII radar per book: A Century of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, 1882-1982 By Karl L. Wildes, Nilo A. Lindgren, pp.192-198

    Rotterdam Naxos 1943/44 per book: Echoes of War: The Story of H2S Radar By Lovell Sir Ber, p.234

    Per US Army Signal Corp History
    In December 1936, Signal Corps engineers conducted the first field test of the radar equipment at the Newark, New Jersey, airport where it detected an airplane seven miles away.
    By May 1937, Signal Corps demonstrated its still crude radar, the SCR-268, a short-range radar set, for Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring; BG Hap Arnold, Assistant Chief of the Army Air Corps; and others. The Secretary and BG Arnold were impressed and the latter urged development of a long-range version for use as an early warning device. With high-level support, the Signal Corps received money needed to continue its developmental program.
    The Signal Corps application of radar to coastal defense was an extension of its long-standing work in the development of electrical systems for that purpose, which began in the 1890s. Because the National policy remained one of isolationism, American military planners envisioned any future war as defensive. Hence the Signal Corps developed the SCR-268, designed to control searchlights and anti-aircraft guns, and subsequently designed for the Air Corps two sets for long-range aircraft detection: SCR-270, mobile set with a range of 120 miles, and the SCR-271, a fixed-radar with similar capabilities.
    By early December 1941 the aircraft warning system on Oahu had not yet been fully operational. The Signal Corps had provided SCR-270 and SCR-271 radar sets earlier in the year, but construction of fixed sites had been delayed and radar protection was limited to six mobile stations operating on a part-time basis to test crews and equipment.
    Per WW2HQ Pearl Harbor Radar
    SCR-270 Early Warning Radar at Pearl Harbor
    Private George Elliot and Private Joe Lockard were the radar operators at the Opana Station on that day and at 7:00 A.M. were preparing to shut down the SCR-270 radar system. The truck had not arrived to return them to base so they kept the radar operating for additional training.
    The radio operators detected a large echo on the SCR 270 radar oscilloscope at 7:02 A.M. on December 7, 1941, which later proved to be the Japanese attack force heading for Pearl Harbor. 
    Early Radar Warning Ignored
    Museum display of SCR-279 radar inside trailer.
    Model of a portable SCR-270 unit. U.S. Army photo
    The blip was so large that Lockard thought the radar was malfunctioning, however, Elliot insisted on contacting the Aircraft Warning Information Center. The Center was virtually empty due to early morning training and monitoring exercies. The officer on duty, Lt. Kermit Tyler1 had been at the center for only two days, and had no training in radar.
    He did know that a flight of US B-17 Flying Fortresses were expected that day and believed this is what the operators had detected. He relayed back to the radar operators, Don't worry about it. Lockard and Elliot continued tracking the aircraft until they were about 22 miles from Oahu, when they planes disappeared behind the distortions caused by surrounding mountains. The two radio operators then returned to base.
    At little after 8:00 A.M. Lockard and Elliott learned Japanese aircraft were attacking the base at Pearl Harbor and realized that what they had previously tracked with the radar, was the Japanese attack force. 
    Per Army History The Reinforcement of Oahu
    In early December 1941 the Army did have an aircraft warning system nearing completion in Hawaii, but it was not yet in operation. This system depended for its information on the long-range radar machines developed by the Signal Corps in the late 1930's, the SCR-270 (mobile) and SCR-271 (fixed). The Signal Corps in Washington drafted the first plan for installing some of this equipment in Hawaii in November 1939, but before 1941 not much actually was done to prepare for its installation.46  As of February 1941 the War Department expected to deliver radars to Hawaii in June and hoped they could be operated as soon as they were delivered. The first mobile sets actually reached Hawaii in July, delivery having been delayed by about a month because of a temporary diversion of equipment to an emergency force being prepared for occupation of the Azores. In September five mobile sets began operating at temporary locations around Oahu, and a sixth, the Opana station at the northern tip of Oahu, joined the circuit on 27 November. Three fixed sets also arrived during November, but their mountain-top sites were not ready to receive them.
    The radars in operation on Oahu in late 1941 had a dependable range of from 75 to 125 miles seaward. An exercise in early November demonstrated their ability to detect a group of carrier planes before daylight 80 miles away, far enough out to alert Army pursuit planes in time for the latter to intercept incoming "enemy" bombers about 30 miles from Pearl Harbor. But this test in no way indicated the readiness of radar to do its job a month later. The sets were being operated solely for training; a shortage of spare parts and of a dependable power supply made it impracticable to operate them for more than three or four hours a day; the organization for using their information was a partly manned makeshift operating for training only; and defending pursuit, even if they could have been informed, would have had to keep warmed up and ready to take off in order to intercept enemy planes before they reached their targets.
    The radars were not supposed to function except for training purposes until the Signal Corps turned them over to an air defense or interceptor command, to be operated by the Army pursuit commander through an information center which would receive data from the radar stations, warn the defending pursuit, control the movement of friendly planes, and control the firing of all antiaircraft guns. 
    SCR-270 Radar, National Electronics Museum website

  • (g4) John Barker Invents Traffic Radar 1947 -
    Per Wiki Radar Gun
    The radar speed gun was invented by John L. Barker Sr., and Ben Midlock, who developed radar for the military while working for the Automatic Signal Company (later Automatic Signal Division of LFE Corporation) in Norwalk, CT during World War II.
    Originally, Automatic Signal was approached by Grumman Aircraft Corporation to solve the specific problem of terrestrial landing gear damage on the now-legendary PBY Catalina amphibious aircraft.
    Barker and Midlock cobbled a Doppler radar unit from coffee cans soldered shut to make microwave resonators.
    The unit was installed at the end of the runway (at Grumman's Bethpage, NY facility), and aimed directly upward to measure the sink rate of landing PBYs.
    After the war, Barker and Midlock tested radar on the Merritt Parkway. In 1947, the system was tested by the Connecticut State Police in Glastonbury, Connecticut, initially for traffic surveys and issuing warnings to drivers for excessive speed. Starting in February 1949, the state police began to issue speeding tickets based on the speed recorded by the radar device. In 1948, radar was also used in Garden City, New York.
    Per Google Patents US #2629865 Radio echo apparatus for detecting and measuring the speed of moving objects
    Publication number	US2629865 A
    Publication type	Grant
    Publication date	24 Feb 1953
    Filing date	13 Jun 1946
    Priority date	13 Jun 1946
    Inventors	Barker John L
    Original Assignee	Eastern Ind Inc
    Per 8/20/2013 NY Times article by Pagan Kennedy Who Made That Traffic Radar? (text in body)

  • (g5) Famous Speeder Babe Ruth 1921 -
    Per 1921 - This Day in Baseball History
    Jail Stripes at Night, Pinstripes in the Daytime
    Babe Ruth is arrested for speeding in New York City. He is given a fine of $100 and thrown in the slammer overnight and into the next day—missing the first part of the New York Yankees’ late afternoon affair with the Cleveland Indians on June 8. He might have missed the entire game had his uniform not been delivered to him in his cell and received a police escort to the Polo Grounds. The Yanks provide a come-from-behind 4-3 win, though Ruth’s presence has little to do with it. 
    Per book: Young Babe Ruth 2001 by Brother Gilbert C.F.X.

    Per New York Times June 9, 1921 front page abstract 'Babe Ruth Plays After Day In Jail' and here
    'BABE' RUTH PLAYS AFTER DAY IN JAIL; Sentenced as Speeder, He Spends 4 Hours in Cell and Then Speeds to Ball Game. FREE AT 4 P.M., BATS AT 4:40 Advised to Remember Law, He Is Fingerprinted and Put Behind Bars With Five Others. Worries About Ball Game. Wants "Babe" Ruth's "Real" Name. Advises Him to Remember Law. 'BABE' RUTH PLAYS AFTER DAY IN JAIL Conversations in His Cell. 
    Per book: Amazing Tales from the New York Yankees Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest... By Ken McMillan
    During his second season as a Yankee, a police officer- unconvinced or unimpressed with who Ruth was - arrested Ruth for speeding on Riverside Drive.  Not only did Ruth pay the $100 fine, he was sentenced to a day in jail.  Back then, 'a day' ended at 4pm, so uth was happy he wouldn't have to miss all of that afternoon's 3:15 start.
    Ruth had his uniform delivered to the jailhouse in lower Manhattan and out it on underneath his fine suit.  Not heeding any advice from the judge, Ruth told someone in his jail cell, "I'm going to have to go like hell to get to the game.  Keeping you late like this makes you into a speeder".
    At four o'clock Ruth was released, and a crowd greeted him at the rear of the jail.  This time, utilizing a police escort, Ruth made it to the upper half of Manhattan in 18 minutes and was inserted into the lineup.
    Per 3/30/2014 Chicago Tribune article 10 things you might not know about traffic tickets By Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer
    Babe Ruth got two speeding tickets in New York City in 1921, for driving 27 mph and 26 mph. After the second violation, a magistrate threw him in jail for a few hours. He was released 30 minutes after the start of the Yankees game against the Cleveland Indians and drove his maroon Packard 9 miles in 19 minutes — speeding again — to the Polo Grounds. Only then did he walk — to lead off the sixth inning.
  • (g6) John Barker bio -
    Per Bridgeport (CT)Post 10/2/1977 article 'Traffic Control Inventor Retires After 44 Years with Signal Firm'

  • (g7) Early Adopters CT 1947-1949 -
    Popular Science Jun 1947 'Radar Clocks The Traffic' by Devon Francis pp.98-99

    Popular Science Sep 1952 'Little Black Box Now Catches Speeders' pp.94,280

    The Day, New London, CT, newspaper 2/5/1949 front page article Radar Speed Trap Will Be Setup
    HARTFORD - The dubious distinction of becoming the first speeder ever summoned into a Connecticut court on radar evidence will go to some hapless motorist in Glastonbury next week.
    Captain Ralph J. Buckley, commander of the state police traffic safety division, said the war-born detrection equipment will be used at the request of Police Chief George C. Hall of Glastonbury.
    "It will not be used secretly. Warning signs will be posted in all zones where the device is in use.
    "Any speeder who gets caught will have to argue with a little black box.  The accuracy of the little black box, I might add, is uncanny.  The speeder won't have a leg to stand on if he tries to talk his way out of a ticket."
    Followed Recent Survey - The request of Chief Hall for the use of radar equipment in coping with Glastonbury's traffic situation, Captain Buckley said, followed a recent radar speeding survey made in the town by state.
    It has been used since May, 1947, to make traffic surveys and as a speeding deterrent, Captain Buckley said.  Up to now only warnings have been issued to speeders nabbed with its aid, however he added.
    "This is the latest scientific method of gathering evidence against speeding motorists." Captain Buckley said. "Far more accurate than a "speedometer", it removes the possibility of human error. police. (sic)
    This in turn, he said, was requested because the Connecticut highway safety commission reported that between January and October, 1948, in Glastonbury, there were 106 motor vehicle accidents involving property damage, 61 involving personal injuries, and two with fatalities, an increase over the same period in the previous year.
    In using radar to catch speeders, Captain Buckley explained, one officer operates the equipment by the roadside.  Its "little black box" makes a visual and printed record of the speed of all cars passing.
    When a speeder goes by, the officer simply notes down the car number and radios it on to a fellow officer waiting farther along the highway, who stops the offender and gives him a summons.
    The Day, New London, CT, newspaper 2/12/1949 front page article 'First Arrest Made in Radar Speed Check'
    First Arrest Made in Radar Speed Check
    HARTFORD - A man late for a business appointment was arrested as a speeder in Glastonbury this morning and thereby became the first automobile driver ever held in Conecticut on the basis of radar evidence.
    He was Matthew Dutka, who was driving from his home in Norwich to Hartford along Route 2. He was stopped by State Policeman Vernon Gedney and Albert Kimball as he approached Glastonbury center.
    Captain Ralph J. Buckley, head of the state police traffic safety division, said Dutka was doing 55 miles an hour in a 30-mile-an-hour zone.
    Approximately 3,000 cars were clocked by radar in Glastonbury this week before the first speeding arrest was made, according to Capt. Buckley.  About 35 warnings had been issued up to this morning, he said.
    Dutka was given a summons to appeaar Monday night before Judge J. Ronald Regnier in the Glastonbury town court.
    Per Hartford Courant 10/9/2006 article Vintage Radar Unit Donated To Museum
    GLASTONBURY — The Glastonbury Police Department has donated what is believed to be one of the nation's first radar units to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Museum in Washington, D.C.
    The radar unit was first used by Glastonbury police in 1948 to monitor the speed of cars. Capt. David A. Caron said the unit made the life of a police officer much easier, because it was simpler to track speed.
    The radar unit became obsolete as newer models were introduced, and Caron had to save it from the trash a couple of times.
    ``In previous years, people seemed to dispose of it,'' he said. ``I thought it was pretty special, so I saved it from the garbage can twice.''
    Caron then stored the unit in a safe place so it could be preserved for history, and waited for an opportunity to share it. He noticed a bulletin that the museum put out for law enforcement articles and decided that the unit would be the perfect addition.
    He said he was happy to donate the unit in September to museum officials, who could not be reached for comment.
    ``I'm glad it got into a worthwhile cause and into this museum,'' he said.
    The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Museum is expected to open in 2009.
    Per United States Municipal News, Volumes 14-16, United States Conference of Mayors, 1947, p.72 (partial)
    Catching Speeders By Radar — An ingenious radar traffic beam, especially designed to indicate when motor vehicles are exceeding the speed limit, has been built for the Connecticut State Police and will be put into use on a statewide scale as soon as the police force completes an instructional course.  The device is called an electromatic...
    The device is recatangular in shape, weighs 45 pounds, and is easily transported from place to place.  A single patrolman is required to operate it.
    A moving vehicle reflects a microwave signal sent out by the device.  As the vehicle goes down the road, the signal beam follows it.
    ... the speed of the moving car. A pointer stops momentarily on the device's speedometer at the speed of the vehicle is traveling, and at the same time it records it on a graph.  If the speed is found to be beyond the limit, the vehicle's license plate number can be noted by the patrolman, and radioed down the road to a waiting patrol car
    -Highway Research Abstracts, July
    Per undated nationwide article first located in 6/3/1948 The Amarillo Globe-Times, and again 6/9/1948 Schenectady (NY) Gazette Radar to Trap Speeders
    GARDEN CITY, N. Y., (NP)— Radar will be used to trap speeders in this Long Island town if tests prove successful. Police are experimenting with an electro-matic speed meter — a radar device set up in a patrol car. The machine bounces radar waves off passing automobiles and records their speed on a graph.
    Per New York Times 2/9/1949, Business, p.53 'RADAR WORKS ON SPEEDERS; Year's Test Made on Long Island Shows System Is Costly'
    GARDEN CITY, L. I., Feb. 8 -- A year's test of radar detection of speeding motorists indicated today that the system works, but at a cost. 
    Photo of Garden City radar 1949 per Garden City Public Library, Village of Garden City archives Radar Car and 1948/1949 per radar

    Per the May 8, 1948 entry in the Weekly Underwriter covering January 1948 through June 1948, p.1391
    Radar Checks Speeders
    Radar is being used by the police of Garden City, L.I., to clock the speed of passing automobiles.  The machine, which cost $1,000, picks up an approaching car from a distance of 75 feet and registers the speed for a ..
  • (g8) Radar Rollout 1949-1972 -
    TX Highway Patrol 1954 - Highway patrolmen getting radar to help combat speeders

    Popular Science Sep 1952 'Little Black Box Now Catches Speeders' pp.94,280
    The meter, which is manufactured by Automatic Signal Division, Eastern Industries, Inc. East Norwalk, Conn., has helped police catch traffic violators in 31 states- and even in Bermuda, where the speed limit is a flat 25, and no fooling.
    Kiplinger Magazine Jan 1955 'Can they really check your speed by radar?', p.34
    Radar was first used in traffic work half a dozen years ago, and now 43 states, Hawaii and the District of Columbia have some 600 machines.  Ohio has the greatest number of machines, 107.  Some states have only 1 or 2 each.
    Per Shrewsbury, MA Police Department history History
    1961:New radar equipment was purchased for traffic enforcement and used very effectively. The compact radar transistor unit may be mounted inside a cruiser, outside on the roof or fenders, on a stand or even off the road with an extension cord. Effective range of the unit is 2,000 feet. 
    Per Rehoboth Beach (DE) Police Department History of the Rehoboth Beach Police
    During the mid 1960s there was a noted problem with speeding in the city.  However, the RBPD did not have any radar or other speed detection device or training to help curb the problem of speeding drivers.  The city intended on asking the Delaware State Police for troopers to run radar on city streets when available.  However, one year later on July 14, 1967 the RBPD obtained it's first radar unit.  The Delaware State Police was tasked with training RBPD officers in it's use.  Today every RBPD patrol car has a radar unit installed.
    Per Alabama Highway Patrol Department of Public Safety History: 1935-1990
    Federal grants received in 1973 allowed Public Safety to equip all patrol cars with protective shields, roll bars, spotlights, electronic sirens and public address systems. A separate grant, awarded through the Office of Highway and Traffic Safety, was used to purchase 54 Speed Gun II radar units used to enforce the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit effective nationwide that year. As a result, arrests for speeding violations increased 18 percent.
    Per CHP California Highway Patrol Milestones of the CHP
    1954 CHP tests radar for speed enforcement. 
    1988 The CHP is authorized to use radar to enforce speed on roads in rural and unincorporated areas. 
    Per Orem, UT Police The History of Orem Law Enforcement
    With increasing traffic problems, Chief Burgener gave permission to purchase there first radar unit. The radar unit was put to use on October 18th, 1960, and was found to be a very resourceful tool for officers.
    Per Lexington SC Police Police History
    1972 Police begin using Radar in the town for speed enforcement. 
    Per unofficial Delaware State Police Delaware State Police History
    On March 13, 1952, the state police first used RADAR devices specifically designed for traffic enforcement, charging nine people with speeding on the DuPont Parkway. The first set was borrowed from the highway department. The use of this technology was highly controversial; adding to the controversy was the use of unmarked police cruisers for enforcement. The issue became quite volatile when the chairman of the State Highway Commission was stopped for speeding.
    Near the end of 1955, the state police announced they would be utilizing three RADAR units around the clock. The new smaller units were no larger than a suitcase and were permanently installed in the trunks of 1955 Ford Interceptors. In the fall of the following year, the state police began using RADAR in all three counties.
    Per official Delaware State Police Delaware State Police History
    Using radar for the first time, troopers arrested nine motorists on March 13, 1952. Initial units were cumbersome and brought immediate reaction from the public and the political arena. 
    The year 1957 witnessed improvement of the radar traffic enforcement system. On October 31, radar units were placed in the trunks of patrol vehicles to assist with maintaining speed limits.
    Per Pennsylvania State Police Pennsylvania State Police History
    On Sept. 1, 1961, the State Police officially began radar speed checks.
    Per South Bend (IN) Police South Bend Police History
    use of radar in 1951
    Per Huntsville (AL) Police Huntsville (AL) Police History
    March 1961 - A radar speed checker was purchased from Janette & Company.
    Per Virginia State Police Virginia State Police History
    1952: Radio detecting and ranging equipment--known as radar, was used for the first time as a speed surveying device throughout Virginia.
    1954: Stationary radar was first used for traffic speed enforcement.
    Per unofficial Ohio State Highway Patrol
    Use of radar for speed enforcement and "Intoximeters" for drunk driving offenses began in 1952
    Per unofficial Dayton Police History
    On June 13, 1952, Dayton’s first radar speeding arrest was made by Ptl. Harold Murphy and Ptl. James Hopkins when they stopped a car traveling 45 miles per hour in front of Carillon Historical Park on S. Patterson Blvd.  Unlike the 1904 speeding ticket, the officers were able to register the driver’s speed using new technology and were able to chase down the driver in a patrol car.
    Per book: Health Instruction Yearbook 1950 p. 162
    Michigan Studies Highway Speeds with Radar
    Charles M. Ziegler, of the Michigan State Highway Department, reports that in 1950 Michigan used radar for the first time to check vehicle speeds on the streets and highways of the state.
    Per Chicago Tribune 6/20/1954 Radar Eye Sees All - So Cars Slow Up
    An all-seeing radar eye has wrought a remarkable slow down on the part of Hammond motorists in two months that it has been clocking them.
    John Mahoney, Hammond police traffic department captain, says radar is "marvelous." The city's single radar unit has proven ideal to clock speeders on side streets where rough pavement throws off the speedometer of a moving squad car.
    Erect Warning Signs / The threat of radar control caused a "genuine reduction" in speeding, Mahoney said, when warning signs were erected a week before radar was first used last April.
    Some $1,500 has been spent putting up 20 warning signs. They are posted so that no one can drive into Hammond without being cautioned, he said. Purpose of radar is not to trap tourists, or run up a large number of arrests, but to cause speed reduction, the captain explained.
    Mahoney attributes reduction in accidents and injuries to use of the electronic gadget. From June 1 thru 14 there were 83 accidents and 23 injuries, according to police records. During the same period in 1953 there were 116 accidents, and 34 injuries, including one fatality.
    So far, radar has not been used much on U.S. 41 or other main highways. For if several vehicles were before the radar scope at once, only the speed of the fastest would be registered.
    Catches 130 in Six Days
    Also, motorists on highways are more impressed by sight of a motorcycle policeman than fear of possible radar check, Capt. Mahoney said.
    Altho Hammond's radar car is plainly marked and has not operated from concealment, some 130 speeders were arrested in one six day period. Most of them exceeded the speed limit by at least 10 miles an hour.
    Tolerance on speeding will be reduced 5 miles an hour on streets with high accident frequency records, however. At school crossings, radar can be employed to arrest drivers only 1 or 2 miles an hour above the limit, the captain warned.
    Per book: Louisville Division of Police: History & Personnel By Morton O. Childress
    January 7, 1955 Radar to catch speeders
    Per stltoday article A Look Back St. Louis police first aim radar at speeders in 1953 photo captions:
    St. Louis police installed warning signs on the Oakland Express Highway shortly before they began issuing speeding tickets on Nov. 4, 1953, with their first traffic-radar device. 
    St. Louis Police Court Judge Robert G. Dowd (front left) observes a test of the city Police Department's first speed-radar device on the Oakland Express Highway on Oct. 29, 1953. Dowd handled his first radar docket on Nov. 18, imposing $60 in fines. Others are, from left, court official David Fitzgibbon, Police Board President I.A. Long, Police Judge Morris Rosenthal, Police Chief Jeremiah O'Connell, assistant chief Joseph Casey and (front right) Maj. William Cibulka, traffic division commander. 
    The first St. Louis police traffic radar was a 45-pound device that was placed on the shoulder of the Oakland Express Highway at Forest Park in November 1953. The transmitter/receiver was attached by wire to a monitor in a police car. 
    St. Louis Police Cpl. Elmer Kuhmann broadcasts the description of a speeding car in November 1953, when the department first began using traffic radar. Waiting up ahead on the Oakland Express Highway were motorcycle officers, who pulled over the speeders.
    A close-up of a radar monitoring device used by St. Louis police to catch speeders beginning in November 1953. The needle jumped across the moving roll of paper as the radar transmitter relayed information by cable. The speed marked on the paper was of a station wagon going 48 mph.
    St. Louis police motorcycle Officer Ed Schnelting writes a speeding ticket for Mildred Fabick, 31, of Ladue, on Nov. 4, 1953, the first day of the department's use of traffic radar. The scene is on the Oakland Express Highway. Police Court Judge Robert G. Dowd dropped the charge against her on Nov. 18, the first court day for radar tickets, because the ticket directed her to the wrong courtroom. 
    Per Reading (PA) Eagle 10/31/1954 Radar Withstands Legal Challenges excerpts:
    Chicago (U.P.) - Municipal Judge Thomas M. Powers of Akron, Ohio, addressing a session of the National Safety Council convention...
    said the public has more confidence in radar than it has in the speedometer method of apprehending speeders, which invloves a hazardous chase by a police car.
    Powers said Columbus, Ohio, started using radar in 1948.  Since then, he said, its use has spread through 45 states and thousands of communities.
    Per Washington State Patrol Looking Back
    In 1951, the Patrol began using radar with a stationary type unit
    Per Kansas Highway Patrol History
    Patrol units did not have moving radar until 1972 or video cameras until the 1990s.
    Per book: Public Management, Volumes 30-31, International City Managers' Association, 1948, pp.349, 367
    p.349 - Radar is now being used by the police in Columbus in checking up on speeders (p.367)
    p.367 - Traffic violations: Checks auto speeders with radar, 367 [quantity]
    Per The Police Chief, Volumes 16-17, International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1949
    Columbus, Ohio - In May started using radar to apprehend speed violators.  Well marked "Police Speed Control Zone" signs were erected at critical high speed areas, to avoid "speed trap" criticism.  One unit, consisting of one car equipped with...
    Per Wilton CT Bulletin March 3, 1954 N.J. Turnpike Radar Curbs Speeders: Safety record Shows Improvement p.11
    During 1953, the first year of radar's use, the accident and fatality rate showed sharp reductions.
    Radar was responsible for the apprehension of twice as many reckless drivers in 1953 as were apprehended by the entire detachment of State Police assigned to the Turnpike in the previous year.
    Per Chicago Tribune 6/6/1954 RADAR TO SPOT SPEEDING CARS ON EDENS ROAD by Hal Foust
    Use of Device to Begin on Friday [June 11]
    A police radar for speed control will be installed on Edens expressway on Friday. This will be the state's first use of the electronic device, Joseph D. Bibb, Illinois director of public safety said yesterday.
    The location for the installation, just north of Chicago, is on a high speed super-highway with a bad accident record. 
    Bibb said he was confident that the radar operation will be a wholesome influence on the conduct of Edens traffic. He cited the experience of Mo- line police. There the radar reduced the number of speed violations and cut accidents, he said.
    Weighs 45 Pounds
    The instrument is portable, weighing approximately 45 pounds with its carrying case. It has an operating zone of about 150 feet, with a beam width of 30 degrees at that distance. Speeds are measured with an accuracy of plus or minus 2 miles an hour. They are read on an indicator and also plotted on a graph for evidence admissible in courts.
    State police with training in radar work will operate the device. One will read the indicators. A squad car ahead in the path of traffic will apprehend the driver with a radar record for dangerous speed. The men will work under the direct supervision of Wilbur Kennedy, assistant superintendent of state police for this district.
    A radar equipped squad car has been touring Chicago's streets for speeders since Sept. 1, Traffic Chief Michael Ahern said yesterday.
    The experiment in checking speeds of cars will continue until November when the data will be used for a study of the relation between speed and high accident rates. No arrests are being made.
    Traffic Policemen Lester Beling and Leonard Baldy [who became a helicopter traffic reporter and died in a crash in 1960], who operate the car equipped with $1,100 worth of radar equipment, said they clocked 46 cars in 90 minutes going at least 10 miles over the limit in the 6400 block of S. Western av. The speeding vehicles, in a 20 mile an hour zone, included three suburban buses and a CTA street car, they said.
    Per unnofficial Tennessee Lawman Motor Cars with photo
    Memphis police began using radar units for traffic control on March 20, 1953. The radar unit was set on a tripod outside the car and connected to a monitor inside the car that displayed the speed of passing cars.
    Per unofficial Vermont State Police State Police Series #45 - Vermont State Police - History
    The Field Force Division started using radar as a speed enforcement tool in 1954.
    Per VT State Police Arhcives
    The Field Force Division started using radar as a speed enforcement tool in 1954.
    Per Mon, September 26, 1949 The Dixon (IL) Telegraph article 'Radar Being Used Here to Determine Speed of Autos' p.7
    Radar is now being employed by ... The meter has been in the Dixon district department ol I be far more accurate in highways in determining the speed of cars and trucks. ... method used by mat .. The device which is electrically operated either from the storage battery or 110 volts has been given a thorough test on th highways in the Dixon district. District Traffic Engineer Dan Branigan of the Dixon district offices, and his assistant Arthur J Mueller have been in charge of the tests and within a few days plan to check the speed of all cars used by Sterling district, No. 1 of the state highway police. Traffic Engineer Branigan will address the National Safety Congress in Chicago next month on the operation of the new electro-matic radar speed meter, explaining its operation and efficiency. The meter is able to check cars driving from one to 100 miles per hour. Tests taken thus far. Branigan stated today, indicate that the few automobiles have been clocked speed five to 10 per cent faster in indicated on the speedometer.
    Per Freeport (IL) Journal-Standard, Thu. 9/22/1949, p.5 'Radar Speed Checker Used By Authorities On Highways In Area '
    Rockford, Ill., Sept. 22.—It's getting harder all the time for motorists to know when the authorities are checking up on them. The latest wrinkle? Your car may be a pip on the motor cop's radar screen. The electronic traffic spy has just been given its first test at checking up on city traffic here. It's already had a workout on Illinois highways near Dixon, where many a speeder has been clocked without his knowledge. It is called the electro-matic speed meter. It comes, all ready to go to work, in a black box. Unlike traffic counters and speed checkers in general use, it requires no hose across the pavement or beam catcher. It can be focused on the road like a camera, and its short wave emissions are bounced back by vehicles. Connected with the radar are two meters and a marking arm which records speed of the vehicle on a graph. Arthur Mueller of Dixon, assistant traffic engineer for the state highway department, says the machine's record is invariably correct to within one mile an hour.
    Per Book: Troopers and Highway Patrolmen, by Marilyn Olsen
    Experimental use of radar began in 1954, with the first operations pursued on US 30 between Cheyenne and Laramie.  The next year, the patrol obtained its first 'stationary' radar unit.
    South Carolina
    Radar was introduced in 1962 as a tool to apprehend speeders
    In January of 1954 the old "prima Fascia" speed law was replaced with an enforceable recommended speed limit of 60 mph in the daytime and 55 mph at night on all primary U.S. and state highways.  Also in 1954, the ISP purchased six radar sets to aid in controlling speeding motorists.
    In 1975 the state police acquired its first radar unts capable of operating while the troop car was in motion.
    In 1954, the acquisition of eight pieces of equipment changed forever the enforcement activities of the Patrol.  Radar became a new word in the Patrol's vocabulary.  It was used in posted zones throughtout the state.
    Radar was first used as a speed surveying device in 1952.  The speed limit on most primary highways was 60 mph.
    Per Saturday Evening Post article by Irving Leiberman, appearing in the Milwaukee Journal 11/12/1949 Slow Down Radar is Watching, excerpts:
    A dozen states are using electronic device to clock speeders, and violators find results uncanny.
    The traffic radar, known as the "electromatic speed meter" was perfected by a Norwalk (Conn.) company in co-operation with Connecticut state troopers. It consists of a handy, car borne appratus, weighing only 45 pounds.
    A transmitter-receiver unit in a small black box is placed on a fender with its black glass front facing oncoming traffic.  The power unit is plugged into the car's battery. A recorder containing a roll of graph paper and a visual speed indicator is hung near the car's steering wheel. 
    The device has been tried out, either state-wide or locally, in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the list is growing.
    Per California Highway Patrol budget document 1954 p.276/277 showing - 'Excerpts from Article "Radar Methods of Speed Control" by Carl, R. Finegan, Sheriff of Lorain County, Ohio, published in "The California Highway Patrolman" March, 1950 - and "Excerpts from Article Entitled "Slow Down, Mr. Speeder!" from the April, 1953, issue of "Service," a Publication of Cities Service, by Robert I. Marshall -NOW-IN 26 STATES-THE "RADAR COPS" ARE WATCHING, AND THEY USUALLY GET THEIR MAN"
    [Mar 1950] 
    Recently I talked to Capt. Clem Owens of the Columbus, Ohio, Police Department. Here is what Captain Owens told me: "During the first 6 months of 1949 in Columbus, we had a force of 30 motorcycle policemen checking traffic. These 30 men made 946 arrests, and traveled 121,515 miles to do it. However, with the use of the speed meter, 853 arrests were made, and 783 warning tickets were given out. We used only two men. The thing to note here is the fact that with the use of radar our equipment traveled no miles and we eliminated the use of 28 men 'who then could be placed in oth'er branches of law enforcement. The men we used to make our traffic arrests were policemen who had been placed on light duty.
    "Here you will note that there has been a saving of manpower and the cost of operating equipment. Again with the use of radar,weather conditions do not have to be perfect. If it has been raining, and the streets are slippery, you are not subjecting your men to dangerous hazards such as you would have when using motorcycles or squad cars.
    [April 1953]
    Of 56,000 arrests made by enforcement agencies, utilizing mechanical devices, only 318 have failed of conviction.
    Per Popular Electronics May 1956 Radar on the Highway
    Q. How many radar speed meters are there, and where are they located?
    A. Radars must be licensed by the FCC. At this writing, there are about 1600 radars in use. They are scattered throughout all 48 states. Most of the longer freeway, turnpike, or expressway police patrols have one or more radar speed meters in operation daily.
  • (g9) Radar Products 1949-1972 -
    Company historical and Product data per Hendon Publishing's Buyer's Guide to Radar by Jim Wells


    Per October 14, 1977 The Ottawa Journal, Canada, p.42
    Toronto Police chief Harold Adamson, accusing him of "misleading the public into thinking they (police) have a secret weapon." The "secret weapon" is the hand-held Muni-Quip Tri Bar radar gun, a new acquisition for Toronto police which, officials have predicted, will render the Fuzzbuster useless. The gun, police say, can be pointed at the ground until trained on an approaching vehicle, providing an accurate reading of a car's speed but denying the speeder time to slow down. Lastman, naturally, disagrees. "Besides misleading the public ... the police are using disgraceful tactics," she wrote. 
    Electro-Matic Speed Meter dash meter c1968 from 1971 MD State Police car per a href="http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/jerry-scarborough-s-retired-maryland-state-police-patrol-cars#slide=8"> Retired MD police car photots

    Decatur history per 2008 archive of Decatur Electronics Company History

    Per Decatur Elec. History of Radar
    Police Radar Manufacture Begins
    In 1955, Bryce Brown, a university professor with experience working on the Manhattan Project, started Muniquip (short for Municipal Equipment). He made speed timers by stretching two hoses across a road, and soon began manufacturing the first law enforcement radar.
    In 1964, Brown left Millikin University to focus on his radar company. A Toronto firm was interested in his other products, and bought them along with the company name two years later. Brown kept the radar portion, and renamed the company Decatur Electronics, Inc.
    Police radar began as an analog system using a needle rather than a digital readout. Digital technology was not far behind though, and along with it came moving radar.
    Since then, radar technology has become firmly embedded as a law enforcement tool. Today radar is employed by the military, and in law enforcement, weather, aviation and sports.
    Product info per Archive.org Wayback May 1998, Dec 1998, Feb 1999

  • (g10) JUGS guns 1975 on -
    JUGS Speed Gun picture from the JUGs about us page

  • (g11) 1974 55 mph nationwide speed limit -
    In Sep 2005 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration article Federal Role in Speed Management
    In 1973 during the oil embargo, Congress enacted the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL), set at 55 mph, to conserve fuel.  In addition to conserving fuel, the annual traffic fatality toll declined from 54,052 in 1973 to 45,196 in 1974, a drop of over 16 percent.  As a result of the reduction in traffic fatalities, the Congress enacted Public Law 93-643 making the NMSL permanent. 
    In 1995, Congress repealed the NMSL, ending the Federal sanctions for noncompliance and the requirement for States to submit speed compliance data. 
  • (g13) Slow Guns vs Fast Guns -
    Per Stalker Pro manual

    Per book: High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search, By Tim Wendell p.108
    Scouts say the JUGS gun, which Litwhiler helped popularize, measures the speed of the ball soon after it leaves the pitcher's hand.
    The Decatur RAGUN, which soon followed in development, is said to measure the speed of the ball closer to the batter and home plate.
    So the JUGS gun was soon known as the “fast gun” and the RAGUN as the “slow gun.  Routinely, there was a four-mile-per-hour difference.