The (mostly) true story of hobo graffiti

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  • Published on:  Monday, July 16, 2018
  • What we know about hobo graffiti comes from hobos — a group that took pride in embellishing stories.Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Facebook: Twitter:, or tramps, were itinerant workers and wanderers who illegally hopped freight cars on the newly expanding railroad in the United States in the late 19th century. They used graffiti, also known as tramp writing, as a messaging system to tell their fellow travelers where they were and where they were going. Hobos would carve or draw their road persona, or moniker, on stationary objects near railroad tracks, like water towers and bridges.But news stories at the time spread tales of a different kind of graffiti. They included coded symbols that were supposedly drawn on fence posts and houses to convey simple messages to tramps. Seeing an image of a cat on a fence post indicated “kind lady lives here,” for example. While this language probably existed to a certain extent, it certainly was not as widespread as the media led readers to believe. In reality, these stories were largely informed by hobos — a group that took pride in embellishing stories so they could remain elusive.
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  • Hyun Seok Ryu

     1 years ago

    The one rule of the Hobo code is that you do not talk about the Hobo code

  • 1chumley1

     18 days ago

    The second rule of hobo code is never talk about fight club.

  • Don't sub. It is not allowed.

     1 months ago

    In Minecraft Anarchy ya leave sign tags to say: I was here, I replanted the farm, or [insert swear word]

  • Van Hendrix

     1 years ago

    "I was here"

  • Duck

     3 months ago


  • Adam Gelatt

     4 months ago

    best comment on youtube

  • William Fisher

     1 years ago

    My great-grandmother's house was definitely marked. She would make biscuits and gravy for any hobo or drifter that knocked on her door but she never advertised that so her house had to be marked.

  • non yobussiness

     3 months ago

    Hobos were just men traveling looking for work.

  • dick liddle

     10 months ago

    Same except it was my grandma in the house i grew up in my dad used to tell me stories

  • US

     1 years ago

    I saw some graffiti in a city in Socal with the USB and Wifi symbol. Started looking for a hotspot.

  • Rob

     3 months ago

    Don't plug your computers into random USBs they could be kill device that will fry your stuff immediately..

  • Brennan Morris

     7 months ago

    Where, i live in Socal.

  • Tohru is My waifu

     1 years ago

    I thought the title said hobo giraffe, I’m disappointed

  • Mackenzie Evelynn

     24 days ago

    on this video i got TWO ads for the skittles giraffe so apparently the bots thought so too

  • Leo Watley

     3 months ago

    @DoshWhop #HoboGiraffeLivesMatter

  • []

     1 years ago

    "Peak Hobodom"... I like that term

  • Brennan Morris

     7 months ago

    So if femdom is wanting to be dominated by a female. Wisdom is wanting to be dominated by a wizard so hobodom.....

  • fata morgana

     8 months ago


  • The Senate

     1 years ago

    *"Thieves guild shadowmarks explained"*

  • Vanguard

     3 months ago


  • BlackJack

     3 months ago


  • Marc Shanahan

     1 years ago

    Ah, The Hobo Code. One of my favorite episodes of Mad Men.

  • MLTS

     10 months ago

    yeah, it's mostly about the show. I finished breaking bad with difficulty, while i could watch episodes of mad men one after another and not even notice time passing, when they both have 45 minute episodes

  • You are an NPC, please reply.

     11 months ago

    Any show is binge-watchable if you like it enough.

  • Cadza

     1 years ago

    kilRoy was here

  • Aliza Nazir

     1 months ago


  • Dave

     1 years ago

    So tramp stamp?

  • Mr Knowbody

     8 months ago

    I love lamp

  • Brendal's 2nd Google Account

     9 months ago

    Ur gramps a tramp