A simply lovely use of vintage materials — rolls of calico cloth printed with UK bus stop destinations — spotted by the New York Times today. Back before digital displays, stops on a bus route were actually printed on fabric and displayed on the top of the bus; the stop signage was changed by the driver via a crank as the bus continued on its merry way. Who knew?

Now the rolls of vintage fabric — dating from the 1940s to the '70s — have found a useful second life as upholstery for pillows, benches and chairs sold by stores like Home Economics in Grants Pass, Ore. Several other non-Brit antique and home design merchants carry the fabric and furnishings upholstered in it as well. A bench like the one pictured above retails for $950.

It's beautiful stuff, sure to appeal to both typography-loving vintage hounds and Anglophiles. Or Anglophile vintage hounds who love typography. Whatever the case, I'm glad to see the rolls of fabric weren’t trashed or forgotten, collecting dust in storage somewhere. Check out more designs at the British Route Sign Designs website.

Via [The New York Times]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Next stop: My living room
British Route Sign Designs upholsters home furnishings and accessories with resurrected rolls of vintage fabric printed with UK bus stop names.