Drivers use horns to warn other drivers of danger, or they use them just because they are angry with other drivers. The relationship between cars and horns goes back several decades.  In fact, it goes back to the start of self-propelled vehicles.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Red Vapor

Automobile horn design has now reached the digital era with some car horns being basically powerful speakers powered by electronic circuitry.  However, along with these high-tech designs, the old-fashioned vibrating diaphragm car horn is still out there. The reason for this is not complex; it simply works and is a great example of staying with a technology that does its job. A horn mounted on the car was a little more efficient than a person walking in front of the car blowing a horn–which really happened, and we will touch on that!


How Car Horns Made Their Debut


Car horns did not begin in this country. They date back to the middle of the 1800s in Britain where steam powered carriages were starting to be used. For people and animal safety, a law that stated “…self-propelled vehicles on public roads must be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag and blowing a horn” was passed. This type of automotive signaling lasted, but onl for about ten years or so.


Horns Became Famous


In the early 1900s, when automobiles started to appear in the United States, the vehicle-mounted bulb horn became the attention-getting feature of a car. A simple squeeze on the bulb and everyone around knew you and your vehicle were near. By 1910, however, some drivers wanted a more powerful warning contraption, one that people and animals could hear at least an eighth of a mile away. According to this Jeep dealer of Greenville, PA, manufacturers responded with several kinds of chimes, whistles, horns and sirens.


The Klaxon Horn


By the 1920s, the Klaxon horn had showed up. A Klaxon horn, whose name was obtained from the Greek word klaxo, that means “to shriek,” made its sound through an electrically-powered vibrating metal diaphragm. The most famous Klaxon horn is the “Aoogha” horns on the Model A and Model T Fords of the 1920’s and early 1930’s.  These were effective because of how loud they were!

Since the 1930s, car makers have played around with the basic Klaxon-type diaphragm and sound chamber to produce sounds. The goal has been to make horns that are pleasing to the ear but still able to penetrate traffic noise’s low-frequency rumble.  For example, up until the mid-1960’s many American car horns were tuned to the E-flat or C musical notes. Nowadays, because cars are better soundproofed, they’re more often tuned to more-penetrating notes of A-sharp and F-sharp.


If you are trying to find a vehicle out there without a horn, then we can tell you that you will not have very much luck. However, as has been indicated above, horns are useful, and trust us about them being a great automotive advancement! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about their history!