Identification, Name Tag, Return Address, and So On

I’ve been noticing recently how everything seems to have a name and identification information, if you look for it.

Of course it does, you say, of course everything has a name. Well, what I mean is, things actually go a bit further. Look at any object and most likely it will have a manufacturer’s name on it, or the name of the product, and where it was made.

No one is anonymous! I like that, somehow.

I can illustrate this phenomenon with a few photos I took this morning. Pretty ordinary objects, I thought. This sign, for instance, along the rail trail. On the back, you can get the whole family history of this sign, and all the others that were recently erected along the trail (a new section just opened). Think about it. All these objects were manufactured together and traveled down here to the trail in a group, rode out to their sites together and then got settled, one by one. We know this for a fact. It’s comforting, somehow.

Even the miles on this trail know who they are.

Mile marker small small

Here’s one I really like. Along the trail there are numerous abandoned control boxes from when the line was active – service ended in the 1980’s but before that there had been rail traffic for 80+ years.

train box 2a small

This box was manufactured by the Union Switch and Signal Company in Swissvale, PA. It says so right across the body of the box.

train box 2b small

Curious, I looked up the company. Swissvale is in the Pittsburgh area – I’ve been there myself, actually. Pittsburgh is famous for its manufacturing history, so this object is one of millions created in the factories there in the past. US&S was founded by George Westinghouse 130 years ago and the company still exists today as a subsidiary of an Italian company, still making rail traffic control equipment.

This box knows who it is and now I do, too. Somehow I find that very satisfying. I intend to keep paying attention to the world around me for ID info. I like knowing who I’m dealing with in everyday life!

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About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

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