M. H. Rhodes "Pathfinder" Parking Meter

This is a Rhodes spring-driven Pathfinder Model Mark-Time parking. M. H. Rhodes added parking meters to its line of household and industrial timing devices in the mid-1930s. This manual parking meter showed the number of minutes an automobile was parked over the time limit.
Oklahoma City installed the first coin-operated parking meters in 1935, a practice soon adopted by other cities. Parking meters placed along curb lanes were meant to increase turnover, help enforce violations, reduce traffic congestion resulting from inadequate or haphazard parking spaces, and add much-needed revenue to municipal treasuries. City officials believed that parking meters were necessary to cope with the influx of automobiles into downtown areas and give more motorists access to stores and other businesses. But motorists and merchants challenged the legality of meters, claiming that they annoyed shoppers, deprived merchants and their employees of access to their front doors, and imposed an unfair tax on right-of-ways that were open to all. Most of the legal challenges failed, but meters were removed in several cities, and hours of enforcement were shortened in others. As parking meters proved their compatibility with downtown traffic and their success at increasing revenue, meters became an accepted way to regulate curb parking and fund traffic-related improvements as well as general municipal expenses.
Currently not on view
date made
late 1930s
Associated Place
United States: Oklahoma
Physical Description
cast aluminum (overall material)
overall: 15 in x 3 1/2 in; 38.1 cm x 8.89 cm
overall: 6 in x 6 in x 15 in; 15.24 cm x 15.24 cm x 38.1 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Henry R. Stiffel
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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