Fragile? No, broken glass!

Fragile symbol

What does this symbol mean to you?

Probably ‘fragile / handle with care’.

This is not how everyone would interpret it though – apparently staff at port somewhere in Africa saw this symbol on boxes, assumed they were full broken glass and threw them all into the sea. [Source]

Here are a few other symbols that might appear on shipping labels. Do you know what they mean?

International shipping icons

17 thoughts on “Fragile? No, broken glass!

  1. 1 put one over another
    2 can’t be wet (or can’t support rain)
    3 and 4 I never saw in Brazil
    5 it can mean alive animal, or better keep it frozen

  2. My guesses:
    (1) This side up
    (2) Keep dry
    (3) Do not use hooks
    (4) Fragile/Handle with Care
    (5) Keep cold

  3. 1. Lift top of bun before inserting patty
    2. Contains elderly lady (moist)
    3. Do not hand over to pirates
    4. Do not slide on cable, sharp, gravity may ensue
    5. Tip maître d’ with fish


  4. 1. This side up
    2. Waterproof
    3. Do not hang
    4. Sharp/dangerous

  5. Why would anyone put a marking on a box saying “broken glass” so it would be thrown away?

  6. 1. This side up
    2. Keep(s) dry
    3. No fishing hooks
    4. Touch this and your hands will be sliced off.
    5. Penguins

  7. 1. The Casimir effect
    2. Warnings regarding Mary Poppins
    3. Repaired mechanical parts (cross symbolizes bandages)
    4. Ancient Egyptian symbol representing 2 thrones on each side and a deity in the center
    5. Runs on Linux

  8. The story of the boxes being thrown into the sea sounds very much an urban legend to me…

  9. I agree, Mats. According to the source it happened in ‘the African port of Stevadores’ !

  10. 1. This side up.
    2. Protect from rain.
    3. Don’t hang/hook.
    4. (completely clueless about this one, I can’t make any sense out of it!)
    5. Keep cold.

    This is how I interpret them.

  11. Here are the answers:

    1. This way up
    2. Keep dry
    3. Do not use hooks
    4. Handle with care
    5. Keep frozen

    Some of your answers are more interesting though.

    The story about the African port does indeed have the air of an urban myth.

  12. I’d go with:
    1) Stackable
    2) Waterproof
    3) Don’t use hooks / bottle openers
    4) Needs two people to lift/manage
    5) Contents are frozen

  13. Even if it really was broken glass, is throwing it into the sea a good idea?

    1. THis side up
    2. Keep out of rain
    3. Do not hang
    4. Do not throw
    5. Keep cold

  14. Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that for 5!

    I have fairly similar interpretations for the others except for number 4 – to me it looks like it should mean ‘warning: religious contents’ or something!

  15. LOL @Charles

    in #4, I do reckon the shape of 2 hands but I really can’t make sense out of it or how it would mean “handle carefully” or the like!

  16. 1. This is a happy factory where the peasants strive to excede the norms established by the benevolent ruling party! All hail the benevolent ruling party!

    2. When holding an open umbrella, EU regulations indicate that the large, fabric or plastic side be held in a position whereby the convex part be held higher than the handle portion. These regulations do not apply within the UK or Denmark, who insisted upon their right to hold umbrellas any damned way they please.

    3. Danger, broken barbell ahead.

    4. Hellraiser! You have solved the puzzle, now you will be tortured with hooks and pins for an eternity of anguish and perverse delight.

    5. The station logo for the Tennessee Tuxedo channel, showing nothing but Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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