Percy Shaw

0415 NPG 169 Percy Shaw

Percy Shaw (15 April 1890 – 1 September 1976) invented the reflective road stud or ‘cat’s eye’. He worked in the construction of macadamized roads when in 1934 he came up with the invention that made him famous. There are several version of the story as to how he came up with his invention. One has Shaw seeing his car headlamps on a reflective road sign, another seeing a cat’s eyes fixed in a beam of light. Either way he realised the need for reflective studs set into the road surface on unlit roads, especially after the removal of tramlines that had guided the motorist at night and in fog in his native Halifax. He patented a design, then set up a company in 1935 to make them. By his death some 15 million catseyes had been manufactured.

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