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Stanchions and velvet rope

A stanchion (/ˈstænən/) usually is a sturdy upright fixture that provides support for some other object.[1] It can be a permanent fixture.


In architecture, stanchions are the upright iron bars in windows that pass through the eyes of the saddle bars or horizontal irons to steady the leadlight. The French call the latter traverses, the stanchions montants, and the whole arrangement armature. Stanchions frequently finish with ornamental heads forged out of the iron.[2]

Stanchions are also the metal supporting members of lighting mounted from a lower elevation. This includes the metal inclined member for mounting a streetlight to a telephone or power pole, and the dedicated metal vertical support of a self-supporting or bottom-fed streetlight. In this case, the stanchion pole may double as the raceway for the electrical feed to the lighting.

In industrial installations, walkway lighting may be mounted with a stanchion that is secured to a hand-rail. Stanchion lights are typically spaced 50' along walkways, such as conveyor platforms.

Stanchions (balusters or bollards) are also the upright posts inserted into the ground or floor to protect the corner of a wall.

In event management a stanchion is an upright bar or post that includes retractable belts, velvet ropes, or plastic chains, sometimes in conjunction with wall-mounted barrier devices, barricades, and printed signage[3] and often used for crowd control and engineering people flow and construction site safety.


Stanchions are used for many different purposes, including crowd control and queues and waiting lines and management of large groups of people. Many different places use stanchions, including banks, building societies, and credit unions, stores, especially larger department stores, hotels, museums, restaurants and cafés, nightclubs and beach clubs, concert venues, sports arenas and stadiums, airports, train stations, ports, and other mass transport venues, trade shows, art shows and comic conventions, art and opera festivals, and fairgrounds, circuses and other events. Notably stanchions are rarely used in domestic settings or in small businesses whose small people throughout does not warrant such a marker, such as rural cafes or microbreweries.[citation needed]

  • Portable posts used to manage lines and queues.
    • Fixed posts with decorative ropes, custom printed belts, or metal wires. Often available in single, double, and triple belt/wire configurations.
    • Retractable belt stanchions, often with heavy low-profile base to offset possible trip hazard and stanchion tipping, and often also with a slowly retracting spring-operated belt mechanism for safety. (Some have a "Universal Belt End", allowing for connectivity between multiple makes.) In museums, such stanchions are used to protect items and remind visitors that they are not to be touched.
  • Around construction work sites, conspicuous markers of hazardous areas. Stanchions used for this purpose usually have bright safety colors, like orange or yellow, and often come with attachments for safety signs, warning passersby of the danger in the area.[4]
  • Retracting belt barriers affixed to traffic cones with reflective print.
  • Vertical supports for chains or ropes, as in marine applications, such as those for lifelines on yachts.
  • Metal mounts securing the headrest to the seat in a car.
  • In association football and other goal-based sports, horizontal or diagonal extensions to the goalposts that prevent the goalnet from drooping.
  • In military aircraft, vertical supports for troop seating temporarily installed in cargo aircraft.
  • On board most buses and trams/subways, vertical supports to provide stability when passengers are standing. They are located throughout most city buses and are connected to seats, floor, roof, etc.
  • The metal head bails in dairy barns that lock the cows in place while they are milked.
  • The two lower members of a suspension bicycle fork that connect to the crown (also called fork legs).
  • In yachting, metal bars that hold the life-lines around a boat's perimeter.
  • In river rafting, metal bars that hold the yokes for oars.
  • In ice hockey, the posts used on the dasher boards to hold panes of glass in place. This is a common vernacular term in the sport, although in the industry they are simply called posts.
  • The upright part of the frame around a windscreen (the A pillar).
  • Stanchions to locate fire hydrants under deep snow.
  • In stores a stanchion supplied by a manufacturer can be placed on the counter to display their product, such as candy.

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See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stanchion - Definition and More". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Stanchion". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 772.
  3. ^ Marinho, Giuliano. "What Is a Stanchion: A Stanchion Definition Complete Guide!". Safety Sticklers. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  4. ^ "What are Stanchions? Stanchion Definitions & Types of Stanchions". Crowd Control Warehouse. Retrieved 2018-06-09.

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