Jan 12, 200602:48 PMThe Life
Elbert D. Botts saved my life. Again.
Jan 12, 2006 - 02:48 PMI was just cruising back to the office along P.C.D. on this summery winter's day, trying hard not to succumb to the temporary blindness engendered by all those beautiful women sashaying down the sidewalks while insouciantly flashing their highbeams at unsuspecting passersby. That's when I felt the familiar "thump-thump-thump" of my tires, running over the raised pavement markers that divide the lanes, reminding me not to wink and drive.
[Click small thumbnail photo to enlarge.] Elbert D. Botts (1893-1962), a chemist at Caltrans, developed the raised-dome plastic lane markers which we now know fondly as Botts' Dots. There are an estimated 20 million Dots currently in place on California roads, and the cute buttons have been adopted around the world. Most Dots are white, but center-lane Dots are amber, wrong-way Dots are red, and fire-hydrant Dots are blue.
Even though Elbert came up with the basic idea in 1953, many delays in developing the proper formulation of glue fastening agent meant the first Dots weren't installed until 1966... four years after their inventor passed away.