Comedy Meets Safety

Banana Peels Led to a Cleaner and Safer World!

We have all seen the well-used comedy prop, a banana peel. Little did you know – it comes from a real safety hazard of the past.

American cities in the early part of the 20th Century had a plethora of banana peels lying around. It seems ridiculous but it’s true. 

Refrigeration and shipping speed had combined to make bananas the most popular fruit, and back before anti-littering laws, people would just eat the fruit and discard the peels wherever they were. But, as they rotted, the peels would become quite slippery and dangerous to tread upon.

Banana peels were, in fact, responsible for a large number of accidents and injuries, including many broken legs, some that eventually had to be amputated according to period sources. 

The problem grew so bad that modern urban street sanitation systems were invented mostly to deal with the peel; in New York City, the banana peel actually became something of a symbol of modern sanitation. 

This is so frequently homaged that just about any time a cartoon character ends up crashing into a trash can, garbage truck, or any other public-sanitation device, he’s likely to find himself having at least one banana peel stuck to him.

“Funny” as this is,  injury prevention has led to some of the greatest advances in our society. And in the end that’s no laughing matter!