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November 29, 1913

"Red Not a Satisfactory Danger-Signal"

Author Affiliations

Berkeley, Cal.

JAMA. 1913;61(22):1999. doi:10.1001/jama.1913.04350230053023

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To the Editor:  —From an editorial with this title (The Journal, Nov. 8, 1913, p. 1724), I quote: "Just why it was selected as a danger-warning is a question for the anthropologist and historian to determine." I am not an anthropologist or a historian, but simply an eye-specialist. There is one very good reason why red has been selected as the danger-signal. Red is the one color, outside of the ordinary white or yellow light, that is seen at a great distance. At sea the first light to be seen on an approaching vessel is her white masthead light, next her port red light, and some time later her starboard green light. The substitution of yellow for one of the colors would be impossible, as it would be confused with every window- and street-light in town. There is no other unmistakable color that can be seen at so great a

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