The Art of Utilities: Verizon and Bell Labs

I believe I have the niche market on man-hole cover art.

The best of this series can be viewed here.  If you’d care to drop me an email and tell me your three favorites, I’d appreciate it.  At this point, I am too jaded.  I now see dead squirrels and think “Collage!”


©Pat Coakley 2010


**Photographs from this blog and my wider archive can be purchased at


11 comments on “The Art of Utilities: Verizon and Bell Labs”

  1. It’s difficult to choose just 3 but here goes: rootsallf, verizon-utility, and asphalt chinese red.

  2. Thanks, Pat! I finally found religion: collage.

  3. who would have thought that manhole cover patterns could be so beautiful?
    you, thats who! oi, i took a picture once of a hawk that died by flying into a window. seeing isnt always pretty

    • Seeing isn’t always pretty….honestly, that could be the title of an autobiography! Love that and thanks so much for the email picks! My favorites were some of yours as well so I guess i’ve not gone totally crapastic.

  4. Somewhere out there in the mists of the past, I saw a coffee table book on manhole covers. The patterns are really amazing sometimes and the ones that are worn down to almost smooth really make you wonder just how old they are. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that the texture was added to them to keep horses from slipping. I can only imagine the learning curve on that little exercise!


  5. You know TP they have had photo books on lesser subjects so I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a manhole cover book! I never knew that the texture was to keep the horses from slipping! I love that fact. Now, how can I manage to use it in today’s world?? I’ll work on it.

  6. Cool! I was trying to guess what the images were as I read the text. The one in blue is that fairly common pattern that is stamped into many metal things to give more traction, I assume… But the other one? That looked like an excerpt from some mysterious glyph. Really lovely pattern for a manhole cover.

  7. Don, I think I may be the Thomas Kinkade of Industrial Parks. I could do a collage an hour just like he seems to paint a “masterpiece” every minute. Now, if i just had a commercial bone in my body …I think he’s got the franchise on commercialsm as well!

  8. You’d love the manhole covers in Japan. They often have local scenes on them and they can be quite colourful.

  9. You might be sick of your own voice but I miss it.

  10. Hey! where’d you go?

    not down the manhole cover! … that would be so Alice.

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