Union Station in New Haven, Connecticut is getting a new changable message board. So what? The old Solari Departure Board in New Haven, so named after its manufacturer, is among the last of its kind in the U.S.—a split flap design that delivers information by cycling through letters and numbers.
New, backlit LED messages boards are generally considered to be easier to read for people who have vision impairments. Now, realistically, as the US ages, this accommodation means a lot more to us than it used to.
However, these old Solari Boards are quaint in their way and they fit well within the aesthetics of the old East Coast stations they serve. And as many have commented, the New Haven Board has a clicking noise that has become part of the character of the station and helps alert passengers to updates. The new LED board will click as a HT to the old Solari board.
When Michael Leddy of Orange Crate wrote about this change a few days ago, he got an email from information presentation giant Edward Tufte* who wants to keep New Haven’s Solari as art rather than retire it entirely.
HT to Orange Crate Art.
*The more I read of Edward Tufte’s webpage, the more I have to conclude he is just one of the warmest, most interesting people out there in addition to all the wonderful things he’s contributed to scholarship. I’m a total fangirl.