Monday, September 10, 2007

Grisly 1920's Public Service announcements


I took a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway this weekend. It's a historic section of track running between Blue Ridge, Georgia and Etowah Tennessee, and it's great fun. The cars are well restored and there's plenty of information on the history of the train and the route available. One of the coolest parts is "The Loop" where the train winds it's way around a mountain, slowly rising and circling the mountaintop, until it passes over it's own track.

In the dining car, there are these absolutely grisly posters from the 1920's. The strangest thing is that when I was a kid I lived near train tracks, and we all used to play there, on a section of tracks that was not used, but it did sit right next to active rails. Nobody I knew got maimed. Perhaps if I had seen the first poster I wouldn't have been so carefree.


Please click on each poster embiggen them.

Update: This post got a mention on the best blog ever - BoingBoing, and in their comments, someone posted this link to the above posters and a bunch of other, in some cases even scarier ones!
For your nightmarish enjoyment.
http://www.oli.org/education_resources/vintage_posters.htm




















7 comments:

Miss Cellania said...

I recall several children dying by train in my mother's neighborhood over the years, but the kids still play on the tracks. Of course, THEY are too young to remember any accidents.

bob said...

These are so morbid, even the children playing sports in the background are somehow depressing. Maybe by proxy. Thanks!

Tony said...

I used to play on the tracks.

OK, it was a seldom-used side-track. On a college campus. But I did play there.

*Busy* tracks I never played on, but my pennies did. They got flat enough too *see* through!

On thinking back, there should probably be a poster called "don't climb the water tower" too.

Michael Ching said...

I live in Memphis and there are still people who stop their cars on the traintracks at stoplights. Never seen the likes of it anywhere else. I think these posters maybe should have a new life here.

googlecheckoutstuff said...

During the 1920's, train tracks commonly went through towns, quite close to residential neighborhoods. Riding on freight trains was way to save money (remember hobo stories from the 1930's?).


During the 1920's, many trains burned anthracite coal, which was comparatively valuable (well, you could burn it in your fireplace or furnace). So kids would collect it from the tracks to sell, much like some people scavenge metals today.


Yep, these are grisly posters, but seen in the context of the times, they were early attempts to spread awareness ... amongst the first public safety messages.

Bo said...

I grew up near railroad tracks. We played near them, and picked blackberries along them, and this was a heavily used line for commuter and freight traffic.

But the only death I recall occurring was when a father of a kid I went to elementary school with killed himself, by laying his head on the tracks. He did it just a hundred yards or so south of a railroad crossing that was the one used in filming many of the Keystone Cops silent comedies when the scene called for one. Ralston in Belmont, CA

Mike said...

Nowadays Soccer Mom won't let junior go into the backyard unsupervised lest something bad happen.

Hello, in the 1920s, parents sent their own KIDS out on to TRAIN TRACKS to collect COAL!

Man, we've become such wusses....