As we currently know it, the three-bladed radiation warning symbol was allegedly created at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley around 1946.
An extremely ancient symbol that dates back to Neolithic times it has use has been found worldwide and it has featured in many religions including Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Jainism. Until the rise of the Nazis in Germany (1920 – 1945) it was broadly seen as a positive symbol meaning good luck.
Although the “Jolly Roger” is sometimes referred to as any flag flown by a pirate, it has generally come to represent a picture of a skull and crossbones emblazoned on a black background. It is still used on warning signs ranging from “high voltage” to “land mines”.
Around the world the classic “heart-shape” has come to represent love. In one sense, the meaning of any symbol is what most people believe it means. Still, to truly understand something it’s often worth looking beyond the obvious. What the secret heart symbol actually means is the subject of some controversial debate.
The Smiley Face symbol is one of the most widely used symbols today. Either displayed as in the picture above or as an emoticon it has been adopted by email and internet users worldwide to express the emotion of happiness in a simple symbol. Two sources claim to have created the symbol (this is ignoring the millions of children who draw it instinctively every day).
Exactly why horseshoes are believed to be lucky is something of a mystery. This is not because people don’t have theories but because they have too many. Some believe that it is representative of the Greek letter Omega while others suggest that it was derived from the shape of the laurel wreath worn by Roman Emperors.
It has been claimed that the “Male” symbol (the planetary symbol for Mars) represents a shield and a spear – the warrior. This explanation appears to have originated in the 19th century at the height of modern revisionist sanitisation of ancient beliefs. There is also a claim that the original male symbol was the inverted female symbol.
The origin of the design has many sources. The symbol to the left is the representation of the “Female” and is also the planetary symbol for Venus named after the Roman Goddess of Love.
The “compass and square” of the Freemasons is one of the most recognised designs associated with this secretive society – although it is far less secret today than it once was. The symbol is depicted with or without the letter G.
The five-pointed red star which is based on the outer shape of the Pentagram has become the globally recognised symbol of Communism. Its origin as a Communist sign can be traced to Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820 – 1895) who were drawn to this symbol for various reasons but allegedly believed in its mystical representation of the human body and its inherent strength.