Hobo signs

This page lists all the various symbols in the Hobo signs category.

A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond—especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States around 1890. Unlike "tramps"—who work only when they are forced to and, "bums"—who do not work at all, "hobos" are itinerant worker

It is unclear exactly when hobos first appeared on the American railroading scene. With the end of the American Civil War in the 1860s, many discharged veterans returning home began hopping freight trains. Others looking for work on the American frontier followed the railways west aboard freight trains in the late 19th century.

To cope with the difficulty of hobo life, hobos developed a system of symbols, or a code. Hobos would write this code with chalk or coal to provide directions, information, and warnings to other hobos. Some signs included "turn right here", "beware of hostile railroad police", "dangerous dog", "food available here", and so on.

Symbols in this category:

A kind lady lives here

A cat signifies that a kind lady lives here.

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Bad water

A hobo symbol that signifies water not to be drink.

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Barking dog

A horizontal zigzag signifies a barking dog.

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Homeowner has a gun

A triangle with hands signifies that the homeowner has a gun and he was going to use it.

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Hostile police

beware of hostile railroad police

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"Hobo signs Symbols." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.symbols.com/category/52>.

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