Home Features At the sign of the rubber gloves: Fridges mended here

At the sign of the rubber gloves: Fridges mended here


Macfilos Weekender with Richard Alton

At road junctions in Zambia you’ll often find rubber gloves, mounted on steel rods and waving in the breeze. They’re used by plumbers for self-promotion — like a barber’s pole outside the shop.

Sometimes the rubber gloves have company — used ballcocks and floats, worn out spanners — in fact any plumber’s tools or accessories that are going spare. With a phone number attached, the displays provide graphic and cost-effective advertising.

I came across this elegant flock of gloves on the outskirts of Lusaka. 

Note: Camera used – Leica M6 (0.85) with 50mm Summicron (circa 1960)



  1. Nice piece of cultural documentary photography. That’s something I never would have known without this photo and story. Those of us who live in our western communities understanding so little of life in Zambia, A project on that alone would be really interesting, at least to me.


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