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The History of the Modern Day Retractable Belt Stanchion

The History of the Modern Day Retractable Belt Stanchion
The simple definition of a stanchion is “a strong, upright pole that is used to support something,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. One of its many uses is to help in crowd control, especially as people wait in queues. The history of the queue, or the simple line, goes back to the dawn of mankind, when the animals lined up to board Noah's ark, according to the Bible. By the turn of the 20th century, modern queueing theory began to be published, but use of the modern-day retractable belt stanchion to form and stage lines is only a recent development., The upright pole, in this case, houses a retractable nylon strap that can easily be “retracted” back into its housing in the stanchion, or “upright pole.”

The origin of this strap and retracting mechanism is clearly the automobile seat belt, magnificently reengineered and placed atop a stanchion pole to be linked together to form modern-day queues. From banks to grocery stores to museums to stadiums, these stanchions keep lines orderly and efficient. They come in many forms, from portable to fixed, from long belts to short belts. Today, they are used to form lines everywhere — both inside and outside — from loading docks to movie theaters, often combined with signage panels and merchandising bowls and racks. For customers ready to check out or be served, there are few things more satisfying than an efficient queuing process. This means customers at the beginning of the queue no longer have to wonder where the line forms, and those at the end don't question who is next.

The main goal of the queue is to reduce the amount of time customers spend waiting in line, while regulating crowd flow to help improve the customer experience. At the same time, the number of customers that can be served over a given time period is increased, while managers can more effectively monitor average wait times and more accurately allocate personnel.

Many types and brands of retractable belt stanchions are used for crowd control or queue management. Selecting the right combination of features, functionality, and value is important. For instance, versatility is important in queue management, and stanchions equipped with universal belt ends are compatible with other manufacturers’ posts. So if you need to switch out a few stanchions, but don’t want to change your entire line, opt for stanchions that allow you to mix and match components. For true versatility and flexibility in your queue or crowd control practice, stanchions equipped with a four-way receptacle allow you to attach three additional belts to a single post to branch out your queue, or easily rearrange your crowd control configuration.

One of the best safety measures you can implement in your queue is stanchions equipped with smooth, slow-retractable belts. This means no belt will stick, warp, snap out of place, or pose a danger to guests or children. Investing in as many safety mechanisms as possible, while acting to create a secure and clear line for guests, is absolutely vital. For example, a locking belt system ensures that belts will not detach or be released from stanchions, and post-top accessories and signage will remain securely in place.

Stanchion belts not only tend to suffer considerable physical abuse, but are also dirt and grime magnets. This is why opting for an embedded mechanism instead of one merely screwed to the top of the stanchion is often a practical choice. Since it is completely sealed within the post, it is protected from such wear and tear. Also, when the time comes to change the belt, the mechanism is easy to switch out, and you're spared from having to replace the entire post.

You also have many options to place correct signage, thus enhancing the queue and making a difference. Whether digital or printed, such signage guides customers from the start of your queue all the way through to the exit. For example, when you remove all uncertainty at the start of your queue with “Line Forms Here,” you impart key assurance to your customers they are indeed in the correct line. Strategically placing other messages along the queue is well worth the effort, because you cultivate customer goodwill. As you design your queue, it can be better to overcommunicate with extra signs, stanchions, and instructions rather than leave customers with questions. Leave no doubt — make your signage count.

If you would instead like to minimize post-top signage because you'd rather project a sleeker, more elegant look, you can opt for retractable belts that you can custom-print with your safety, directional, or promotional messages. Such belts are a savvy way to present a little something unexpected as you maintain crowd control. To further guarantee the right selection of look and feel, you can choose from hundreds of post colors and combinations to ensure you look as upscale as possible, while matching any décor. That same flexibility is also true for the retractable belts, so you again will never face any limitations when deciding how to decorate.

Sometimes the success of your queue is all in the details. To reinforce your brand or safety message, don't always settle for stanchion finishes in standard colors when a wider range of colors is available that will perhaps more closely complement your facility’s décor and design.

Continuous steel tubing or aluminum extrusion without breaks, seams, or cuts preserves the strength and reliability of your posts, even in the midst of extreme conditions.

The last thing you want is a wobbly stanchion. A strong and easy connection from the stanchion post to its base is a quality not to overlook, because this can mean the difference between a long-lasting stanchion and one that weakens before its time.

Even light crowds will cause serious wear and tear over time, but if you choose a stanchion with a heavy base, you will get unparalleled stability against everyday knockovers, slides, drops, and any other mishaps. The increased durability ensures your investment will easily stand the test of time.

You can now even go green with our retractable belt stanchions. The respect we have for our environment extends to all our efforts — from the way stanchions are manufactured, produced, shipped, stored and even supported.

Discount Stanchions and Crowd Control Safety Barriers
PO Box 89, Bay Shore, NY 11706, phone 631-367-2005, fax 631-980-4095