More sign fun, and some Do Not Disturb variations

We've had our share of sign fun on this site, and we're still riding Ransom's recent sign post wave, so why not more? Signs of the most popular genus: "For Sale"; "Help Wanted"; "Beware of Dog" are, naturally, a dime a dozen, and we've all used them or can at least concede their usefulness. Then there are the weird signs, as mentioned by Higgins, rarer signs, the collectibles. My friend just got the best gift--a packet of vintage signs his mother-in-law picked up at a yard sale. They were bleached from sitting in the backseat of someone's '72 Shelby, the owner of which fortunately never found himself in a situation that merited an insert in the windshield such as "send POLICE" and "need PUSH."

The latter might be kind of cute, the former more foreboding; anyone who heeds a "send POLICE" sign is likely to find a rather marinated disaster, no?

My favorite mechanic always gives me a giant billfold that doubles as an all-caps, 24-pt SEND HELP insert. It's so fetching that I usually just leave it around the house for guests to stumble upon. SEND HELP. How disconcerting but so wonderfully straightforward? I know someone else who leaves one of these signs on her prayer alter, which seems apt.
And then there are the "Do Not Disturb" signs, which will either (if you're staying at the Sea World Holiday Inn Express--holla!) be completely ignored, or, sure, curt and effective. Though hopefully not disturbing. There has been a fair amount of silliness in the pursuit of spicing up "Do Not Disturb" signs, with results like:

  • "I'm Hittin' the Hay"--a Marriott in Louisville, KY
  • "Grrrr. Caution, you are entering the temporary habitat of a very special creature"--Kimpton Hotels of Chicago
  • "You Keep Knockin' But You Can't Come In." Little Richard-inspired; House of Blues in Chicago
  • "There's a Good Reason for You NOT to Knock Right Now"--Embassy Suites, who also ran their own DND sign contest; winners announced next month

So do you have a weird sign story, or have a sign you think should be in syndication? Or maybe you'd like to scoop the Embassy Suites contest results and tell us what you think the best Do Not Disturb sign should be...

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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