Arty History

The Long Forgotten Hobo Code

Did you know that a tramp worked only when forced to, a bum didn’t work at all, and hobo was a worker who wandered the roads? It’s a distinction I wasn’t aware of til now. The term hobo (or bo) originated in United States during times of economic hardship, notably the Great Depression, where the lack of work forced many to walk the roads or ride the freight trains in search of better prospects.

And as the wandered the lands the hobos developed a system of symbols, a code, a language to communicate with each other. The symbols were typically drawn using charcoal on electricity poles or on houses to tell their fellow travellers about those who lived inside. The symbols served as directions, recommendations, or warnings: a circle with two parallel arrows meant “get out fast”, a cat signified that a kindhearted women lived at the premises, and a drawing of two shovels meant that work was available nearby.

I remembered hearing about this quite a while back and had completely forgotten until Chris Burns over at World Famous Design Junkies happened upon a book called “Symbols, Signs, & Signets” and scanned some of the code contained within. Find a few of those symbols after the jump.

Awesomeness Hints & Tips Literature Useful/Useless Info

How to use an Apostrophe

I spend a lot of time on the interwebs, and I can’t begin to tell you how often I see the misuse of an apostrophe. I got home last night and found this amazing website in one of my RSS feeds. I’ve posted it up on facebook, twitter, and now here too. I wish I could tattoo it on my body somewhere too.

It’s all written by a genius named Matthew Inman. His other sites are fantastic as well, and The Oatmeal seams to be the center of all of them. Have a look!

[Via Lifehacker]