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What are hobo codes?

From illegally jumping trains to stealing scraps from a farmers market, the hobo community needed to create a secret language to warn and welcome fellow hobos that were either new to town or just passing through. It was called the Hobo Code.

What does hobo mean in slang?

1 : a migratory worker. 2 : a homeless and usually penniless vagabond.

Why might a hobo leave a message for others to tell a pitiful story?

This symbol warned of this sort of situation but was also used to identify men who were abusive to children or deceptive in general. Tell a pitiful story: Experienced hobos with some acting chops could easily manipulate potential marks by telling a hard-luck story or assuming a pitiful look.

What is hobo Graffiti?

Hobos, or tramps, were itinerant workers and wanderers who illegally hopped freight cars on the newly expanding railroad in the United States in the late 19th century. They used graffiti, also known as tramp writing, as a messaging system to tell their fellow travelers where they were and where they were going.

How do you read hobo signs?

Hobo signs and symbols

  1. A cross — “angel food” (food served to hobos after a sermon).
  2. A triangle with hands — the homeowner has a gun.
  3. A horizontal zigzag — a barking dog.
  4. A square missing its top line — safe to camp in that spot.
  5. A top hat and a triangle — wealth.
  6. A spearhead — a warning to defend yourself.

What is a hobo symbol?

Hobo signs/symbols could warn fellow hobos about dangerous towns or people, mark places where they had gotten free food and shelter, identify locations where free medical care was available, provide directions to areas where work was accessible, and much more.

Why did hobos use symbols?

To cope with the uncertainties of life, hobos developed a system of symbols they’d write with chalk or coal to provide fellow “Knights of the Road” with directions, help, and warnings.

Is it illegal to be a hobo?

Train hopping, sometimes referred to as freight hopping, is against the law in all US states. Homeless hobos, immigrant workers, mostly from South America, and thrill-seeking US citizens surreptitiously all hitch rides, despite the increased use of electronic surveillance and tightened security around rail yards.

How does a person become a hobo?

Historically, many people have been forced into becoming hobos because of circumstances where jobs are so scarce that they have no choice but to travel from place to place in search of work.

What does a hobo sign mean in Swedish?

A Swedish hobo sign indicating the danger posed by dogs in the area. A symbol from the French system of hobo signs indicating that an authority figure lives at this location. A French hobo sign that says to stay away, this place is dangerous. A French hobo sign that says to stay away, this place is dangerous.

Where to find the symbols of the Hobo Code?

Other symbols were simplistic and easier to decipher: a cross meant that hobos who were willing to talk positively about religion would score a free meal. The diverse symbols in the Hobo Code could be found scrawled in coal or chalk all across the country, near railyards and in other places where hobos were likely to convene.

What are the signs of a Hobo House?

Hobo signs, from Symbol Sourcebook, by Henry Dreyfuss, via bLog-oMotives. Translations for some commonly used signs: A cross — “angel food” (food served to hobos after a sermon). A triangle with hands — the homeowner has a gun. A horizontal zigzag — a barking dog.

What did the hobos write on their signs?

To cope with the difficulty of such a lifestyle, 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.