Kaatjes Residence. Blokzijl. Netherlands
"Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite." - Marlon Brando
Hotel collectibles have always been very popular because nowadays people travel frequently and enjoy carrying away souvenirs from where they stay. Unlike other items commonly taken by travellers, "Do Not Disturb" or "Privacy" signs often go unnoticed even though some are very attractive and original in design.
Hotels use "Do Not Disturb" (or DND) signs to make their guests feel more comfortable and secure in their home away from home. Not much is known about their origin. As with many practical items in everyday use, I suspect that these were born quite by chance from an idea of some anonymous hotelier and the novelty soon spread by imitation. Judging by some of the vintage signs that survive to this day, we can assume that the first widespread use was likely in the early twentieth century, mainly in the United States and Europe, particularly by the more prestigious hotels where discretion was the better part of value. Nowadays they are commonly seen on doorknobs in almost every hotel around the world.
"Do Not Disturb" signs come in a variety of designs, shapes and materials. The most common are made of paper or card. Others are made of plastic, wood, fabric, leather, brass and other materials. Some hang on doorknobs, others are inserted in electronic key locks. "Do Not Disturb" signs are not just from hotels. They also come from cruise ships, airlines, educational institutions, hospitals, etc.
In recent years, some hotels have become more creative and use eye-catching signs to distinguish themselves, express their personalities and appeal to image-conscious guests. Sadly, other hotels have started replacing these signs with a warning light outside the door. This is disturbing news for collectors.
The purpose of this website is to give visibility to this rather unusual hobby and to show off my collection of "do not disturb" signs that currently has over 18,000 pieces from countries and territories worldwide.