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October 12, 2011 4:03 PM   Subscribe

In the early 1960s, East German Karl Peglau came up with the idea to put hats on pedestrian crossing signal figures. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, Der Spiegel has posted pictures of two dozen crossing signals from around the world.
posted by gman (24 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
In Paris, whether you're walking or don't-walking, you'd damned well better be holding on with both hands.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:12 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Parisian figures are very jaunty.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:21 PM on October 12, 2011


Yeah, I haven't gotten through all of these yet, but so far Paris is pretty impressive for managing to imbue theirs with such attitude. Spain is a little distressing.

I remember passing through a Canadian town (Whitehorse, maybe?) that had a very jaunty, confident-looking "Walk" guy on their crosswalk signal. He seemed so much happier than the US "head down, grimly striding forward" version.
posted by missix at 4:29 PM on October 12, 2011


The crossing signal is always greener on the other side.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:37 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love the Austrians' bikes.

Thanks for the post!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:45 PM on October 12, 2011


Is the Spainard snowshoeing?
posted by obscurator at 4:54 PM on October 12, 2011


Come on you guys, it's a well-known fact that in Spain one must take robot form when stopped at intersections and shift into frog mode for crossing. Duh.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:00 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody's ever seen the Chinese ones. Not that they're not all over the place, just that no-one's ever felt the need to pay them any attention.
posted by Abiezer at 5:17 PM on October 12, 2011


rot man and grün man!

They were the hit of my student exchange back when there was still an East Germany. Street crossings were inevitably punctuated with loud cries of "Rot Man!".

So much so, I've taught my daughter that the walk/don't walk figures in my town are rot man and grün man(disregarding the actual red hand/white walky guy reality).
posted by madajb at 5:25 PM on October 12, 2011


o Ampelmännchen! how i love you. someday i shall travel to germany just to see you in person. or maybe your sister!
posted by lapolla at 5:59 PM on October 12, 2011


But just a warning to new artists who might get ideas for introducing new figures: don't get too creative.
(A close up of a few images)
posted by madamjujujive at 6:13 PM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ampelmänner are all over Berlin now, and quickly spreading to other cities in former West Germany. Who knows where this may end?!

(Husband chose this as his souvenir of our recent visit to Berlin. I try not to regret that I did not.)
posted by likeso at 6:23 PM on October 12, 2011


It took me an embarassingly long time (over a month) to figure out that people in Berlin were calling the signalmen der Ampelmann and not der Apfelmann. Since Apfel means "apple" I wasted a lot of brain space trying to figure out how traffic lights and apples were related. I'd finally come to the conclusion that he must be called der Apfelmann because the green man was holding an apple when I heard the word again for the hundredth time and something finally clicked and I could hear it properly. Luckily I hadn't explained my apple theory to anyone yet.
posted by colfax at 6:42 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would get so sad when I was at a crosswalk and it was one of the hatless Ampelmannchen.
posted by oflinkey at 6:56 PM on October 12, 2011


Incidentally, I remember now the Spanish Green Man is animated, and walks faster and faster as the time runs out for you to cross. It is sort of hilarious. Another.
posted by oflinkey at 7:03 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Related: walking men worldwide.
posted by moody cow at 7:24 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh my gosh madamejujuvive that is FANTASTIC - could be one of my fave things evar.
posted by lapolla at 7:43 PM on October 12, 2011


oh and hey - sorry gman but i don't get the thread title. que?
posted by lapolla at 7:45 PM on October 12, 2011


lapolla: it's about an ambulatory style.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:05 PM on October 12, 2011


. I'd finally come to the conclusion that he must be called der Apfelmann because the green man was holding an apple

There are red apples and green apples. Red apples are wonderful, and you should stop right now and eat one. Green apples are terrible, and you should quickly leave this place and go find somewhere with red apples.

It makes perfect sense.
posted by curious nu at 8:33 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best pedestrian crosswalk signs are the ones that inexplicably malfunction and start flipping pedestrians the bird. This happens more often than you'd think. For example, this recent one in Amarillo, Texas, attributed to a manufacturing defect. Or the one in Spokane, Washington, attributed to snow. Or this one in New York, New York, attributed to pranksters.

Fuck you, pedestrians!
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:16 PM on October 12, 2011


I like my lights of the Miffy variety.
posted by Omon Ra at 12:39 AM on October 13, 2011


Hats or not, having pedestrian crossings on roads in Spain is about as much use as a "no snowing" sign at the North Pole.
posted by joannemullen at 6:58 AM on October 13, 2011


Belgium people don't just walk across the street, they dance across!
posted by mysterpigg at 8:42 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


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