Hey… Have you ever wondered why most NYC taxi cabs are yellow?
At the beginning of the 20th century, in 1907, a car salesman from Chicago, John Hertz, decided to invest his earnings to start a taxi business. Since taxis needed to stand out, John made a survey along with the University of Chicago. As a result of the survey, the color yellow was chosen. This study simply showed that yellow was the easiest color to spot.
But what about New York? What happens 1000 miles east?
Albert Rockwell, founder and general manager of the New Departure Manufacturing Co. went on a trip to Europe in 1908 to investigate how taxi services are organized on the old continent. In the same year, his taxi company got its start and at the suggestion of Rockwell’s second wife, Nettie Rockwell, the cabs were painted yellow with a fancy ‘R’ on the door. A number of orange-yellow colored Rockwell taxicabs operated on Manhattan streets by 1910. By that time the vehicles were known as the “yellow taxi” and Rockwell incorporated the Yellow Taxicab Company in 1912.
Was yellow a good choice? In 2017, a study showed that the color yellow, for taxis, was more noticeable, resulting in 9% fewer accidents.
All things considered, Nettie Rockwell and John Hertz were definitely visionaries of their times.
This Yellow Cab story would never have come to you without their creative minds.
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