Category:
Signage

Yuma Swastika Bridge

I spent New Year's Day in Yuma, Arizona, where I had a chance to see a local oddity — the Swastika Bridge, which can be found out in the desert just north of the city.

According to local legend, the swastikas were carved into the bridge by German POWs held nearby during WWII. Another story has it that the bridge was designed by the Nazis and shipped to Arizona from Germany.

The reality is that the bridge was built in 1907 by the U.S. Reclamation Service. The engineers decorated it with swastikas after seeing similarly designed and decorated bridges during a trip to India.

The bridge was part of the larger effort to dam the Colorado River and create an agricultural oasis around Yuma.

More info at the Yuma Sun or smoter.com.

And you can find a lot of other examples of the pre-Nazi use of swastikas in American culture at the American Swastika blog.



Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 07, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Evil, Signage

Mystery Illustration 28

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In what industry or occupation is this a professional signal?

The answer is here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 20, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Signage, 1930s

License Plates for Strollers

Back in 2006, Jill Starishevsky started a business selling license plates for strollers. The idea was that when your nanny was out with the baby in the stroller, people could anonymously report on her behavior (whether good or bad) via the website, HowsMyNanny.com, listed on the plate. So kinda like those "How's my driving?" signs on the back of trucks.

Her site is no longer active. It lasted until 2009, and has now been replaced by a spam site. But the original site is preserved on the Web Archive.

I see two problems with her business plan. First, her customer base was limited to people with nannies. And second, I don't think the purpose of the license plate would have been evident to your average member of the public.

HowsMyNanny.com screenshot

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 06, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Signage, Babies and Toddlers

Bond Clothing Sign, NYC

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The Wikipedia entry tells us:

Between 1948 and 1954, Bond Clothes operated a massive sign on the east side block of Broadway between 44th and 45th streets in New York's Times Square. The sign had nearly 2 miles of neon and included two 7-story-tall nude figures, a man and a woman, as bookends. Between the nude figures, there was a 27-foot-high (8.2 m) and 132-foot-wide (40 m) waterfall with 50,000 gallons of recirculated water. Beneath the waterfall was a 278-foot-long (85 m) zipper sign with scrolling messages. The Bond zipper was made up of more than 20,000 light bulbs. Above the waterfall was a digital clock with the wording "Every Hour 3,490 People Buy at Bond."[7] Some of the sign remained in place to advertise the Bond Stores location until the stores closure in 1977.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 28, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Signage, 1940s, 1950s

Mystery Illustration 10

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This Scout is signalling for what now?

Visit link, then scroll down.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 24, 2015 - Comments (10)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Signage, 1980s

Business name causes controversy

Right in the middle of charming little St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin (population 2000), Geoff Gorres and his business partners opened a gun store. Their choice of name: F-Bomb Ordnance.

Local residents aren't too happy about it, thinking it lowers the standards of the community to have the f-bomb "displayed prominently" on Main Street.

In response to the controversy, the owner says he may be willing to consider other options for signage, but he's definitely keeping the f-bomb name. More info: CBS (WCCO); The Sun.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 07, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Odd Names, Signage, Slang, Swears

Kiss Me Necktie

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[Click to re-size]

Did this ever work? And why did the tie turn the wearer into an African-American when activated, as shown at the bottom of the ad?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Mar 31, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion, Signage, 1940s, Women

Ital-glish

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Some fractured or idiosyncratic English which I photographed this week in Italy.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 30, 2013 - Comments (12)
Category: Signage, Europe, Mistranslations

Prison Pennants

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With USA incarceration rates at an all-time high, surely there's a market for these nowadays?

From the 1950 catalog.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 09, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Johnson Smith Catalog, Prisons, Signage, 1950s

The Monster Family

Washington state's Saar Pioneer Cemetery contains an unusual grave. It's the resting place of John C. Monster (1851-1890) and his child "Baby Monster" (1888-1889). I haven't been able to find any additional details about the Monster family. (via the Oddment Emporium)



Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 14, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Odd Names, Signage, Obituaries

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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