Solari Board: Past, Present, and Future

Picture this…

You’re a child sitting on a wooden bench in the center of 30th Street Station. Every now and again, you hear the familiar whirr of clicking behind you as the times, tracks, and destinations change on one of the most revolutionary displays known to man – the split flap board. Once considered a relic, Oat Foundry is now bringing back the nostalgic sound of a clicking Split Flap board for use in a variety of industries and settings.

amtrak split flap display
airport split flap

The Split Flap’s Travel Origins

Split Flaps were made popular in the public transportation space. Originally, they were formally called a Solari board, named for the Italian company that manufactured them. Later, the Flip Flap boards grew in popularity and were adapted for use on game shows such as Make the Grade.

Split Flap, Behind the Flap

A Split Flap display is an electromechanical display device that can display alphanumeric text and/or graphics. Each character position has a series of flaps that are rotated to form a concise message. These messages are often helpful information for way finding or traveling.

split flap module

Module in action

split flap module

So, How does it Work?

When installed, Split Flaps seem simple. Don’t be deceived, there are over 5million individual pieces contributing to the display’s functionality and sound. In the 21st century, cloud-based applications help users control a Split Flap with ease. Oat Foundry’s Split Flap display runs on Linux, meaning users can control messaging manually or autonomously from anywhere in the world. With modern controls comes modern power requirements. A standard 110-220V (think standard American laptop power cord) power supply is all the Split Flap needs to operate.

The Modern Split Flap

Split Flap displays are still being used in public transportation centers and a few airports as well. As the nostalgic becomes trendy, Split Flaps have found a new home in hotels, bars, breweries, cafes, and even your favorite restaurant.

If you would like to learn more about Split Flap displays, contact us.

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