"Hit The Road" Hobo Symbol Tattoo I got in Fiji (1 Viewer)

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TayNZ

TayNZ

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In my full of shit sometimes opinion there is no proof of the hobo symbol system ever being practically used by hobos historically or presently. Unless it was pre photography, has any one ever seen photographic evidence of actual hobo symbols?

Regardless, cool tattoo, exact same spot my cousin just gave me my up side down peace sign!!!
I completely agree with you. To say the truth I don't believe the symbols were widely used at all. Maybe on a smaller scale for marking catchout spots etc
I just like the concept behind them
 
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Most of the codes are from the late 1800s to the 1940s as far as I can find.

An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. This code was voted upon as a concrete set of laws to govern the Nationwide Hobo Body; it reads this way:

  1. Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.
  2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
  3. Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
  4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.
  5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.
  6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals' treatment of other hobos.
  7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.
  8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
  9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
  10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
  11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
  12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
  13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
  14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
  15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.
  16. If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!
~ peace
 

SlankyLanky

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Most of the codes are from the late 1800s to the 1940s as far as I can find.

An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. This code was voted upon as a concrete set of laws to govern the Nationwide Hobo Body; it reads this way:

  1. Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.
  2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
  3. Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
  4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.
  5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.
  6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals' treatment of other hobos.
  7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.
  8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
  9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
  10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
  11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
  12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
  13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
  14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
  15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.
  16. If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!
~ peace
We had a whole thread discussing the modern day equivalent of the hobo code and it's relevance on today's riders, I bet it could be found easy enough if you or anyone is interested in it.
 

Preacher

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There were marks. Don't know what they were. My Grandmother told me a story when I was a kid that she used to feed Bo's back in the 40's and they used to leave marks in chalk on her front steps. It would mean that they could get a sandwich/meal there. Think she said it was lines? God, this was 40 years ago.
 

Tude

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In my full of shit sometimes opinion there is no proof of the hobo symbol system ever being practically used by hobos historically or presently. Unless it was pre photography, has any one ever seen photographic evidence of actual hobo symbols?

Regardless, cool tattoo, exact same spot my cousin just gave me my up side down peace sign!!!
Interestingly enough - at least 5 yrs ago - my street had a bigger traveler groups go through and as I when I walked out to go to work via bus - on the city garbage can was a bunch of "hobo" signs. Took pic and analyzed them - took a bit - as there is not one hobo code - but many and some old and some new - BUT I rather translated it to a warning that this corner was being watched and the the people/neighbors not friendly. This is an "Ish" translation btw. I do know the intersection by my bus stop is a big main place to fly a sign and there are aggressive panhandlers - cops called all the time. hehe An Ex admin here couch surfed my place a few months and there was one cop who had is eyeballs on him every time Zim flew a sign. Wish I kept the photo of the hobo code on the garbage can. :)
 

Preacher

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Today it's probably just used by the homebums which is why nobody on this site knows anything about it. We're generally travelers. It is probably also a local 'dialect'. Take a homebum from Syracuse and plop him in Atlanta and he probably wouldn't know what he was looking at. And I bet nowadays it's not more then a few 'symbols'. Not a whole language or pages of symbols.

Back during the depression, though, you had a whole country on the move and a third of the population were considered travelers or bo's or ittenerent or migrant workers. Just three things in common - dead broke, houseless and constantly on the move. Sound like anybody you know today?

Because, frankly, if this site is baffled by it...then it's not a current traveler or hobo thing unless it's being kept to word of mouth only.
 
Last edited:

Curly

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Apr 10, 2019
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Colorado
View attachment 52271
My First Tattoo that I got when I was black out drunk in Fiji a couple weeks ago. Found some guy on the beach who was a tattoo artist and got it done in a Hotel room with a few other friends I met. Was a fucked up night. Now im trying to decide on my next tattoo.
Maybe you should wait for the next "black out you" to decide
 

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