Photo 1 (close-up)

Photo 2 (wide shot) can you spot the heart?

I was walking to London's Hammersmith station along Great West Road yesterday, and due to the blustery, cold weather, was mostly looking at the ground as I walked.  As I stepped over bits of sidewalk that I've tread many times, I noticed something lovely:  unusual hearts were hidden in the text of some metal street plates.  (I took the above photos to show you an example.) 

When I showed my British partner my photos, he pointed out that the "heart" is actually a sort of logo for the British Standards Institution (or BSI).  And of course, when I came home and looked it up, I saw that he was correct. 

The BSI Group was founded as the Engineering Standards Committee in London in 1901.  The "heart" I saw is their "Kitemark" created in 1903 as a symbol to identify products made to meet BSI' specifications.  It was called their "Kitemark" because the shape of the graphic - an uppercase B (for British) on its back, above an S (for standard), enclosed by two lines, looks a bit like a kite.  

The Kitemark became a registered trademark in 1903, making it one of the oldest product marks in the world still in regular use.

I prefer to call it a Heartmark, because the heart is a much older (and prettier) mark, also still in regular use, I believe...


Happy Valentine's Day everyone.
Hearty breakfast
02/14/2010 1:56am

Those marks only appear in the metal around Valentine's day ;)

02/15/2010 2:05am

I'm shocked that there's such a thing as British "standards" at all. You'd never know it, judging by the way the country runs itself. Or rather, doesn't run itself.


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