Tigers and Zebras 02 – Origin of the Safety Stripe [Column_Schemes & Paints]

zebra_09.jpg: Osaka, Japan. Apr. 4, 2012

The origin of the safety stripe on the end of equipment is uncertain. Here is my suspicious inference for the origin.

The cowcatcher was invented for safety. Purpose of stripe would also be for safety.

The cowcatcher itself might be an invention of the UK, but it got popularity in the US. And, they were found along the Pacific Rim. As I represented before, safety stripe is also found along the Pacific Rim.

The photo above shows the cowcatcher of a steam locomotive made by Porter in 1880 for use in Hokkaido Japan. It is now kept in a glass showcase at the museum. Here, we can see that the cowcatcher consists of parallel lines. Safety stripe also consists of parallel lines.

Though the blades of the cowcatcher are set parallel, it looks either spreading or narrowing out toward the end depending on from which it is viewed. It is because of its 3-dimensional curved surface of the form: It has an inclination. Safety stripe also has an inclination.

If one tries to represent the form of a cowcatcher on a plane surface, I think one would draw inclined parallel lines. Most of the safety stripe is drawn on a plane surface: the stripe on Italian locomotive (Ferrovie Nord Cargo E640) would be placed between 2D and 3D.

It seems that safety stripe was born after the cowcatcher.

From these pieces of evidence, I came to think that the safety stripe on the end of equipment was born from the cowcatcher.

zebra_08.jpg: Osaka, Japan. Apr. 4, 2012

milano.jpg: Milano, Italy. Jun. 1, 2007






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