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I went through the Oregon Heritage Rail Museum when it opened. A lot of people attended the opening and took photos. I refrained from taking any photos until I walked through the Pullman cars. Then this warning caught my eye:

watch your step

It has so much more character than the stick figures we now use as cautionary signs for crosswalks, bike lanes, playgrounds and such. The details of the rolled up pants cuffs, the droopy sleeves, the subtle lines of the overalls, and the gesture evoke a past time.

Then I started to notice other signs. I think “employe” once had a masculine and a feminine spelling – like divorcée/divorcé and fiancé/financée.

first aid



The letter forms of the lower sign, combined with the spacing around the letters, tell me that the sign was either hand painted or is not contemporary. Or both.

What clues can you find around you that might tell more of the story about when a sign was first posted?