I’ve been thinking about this “bridge” feature and scrutinizing images. I’m not outright saying that the idea is wrong, but it might just be a bit of an optical illusion. The photo used to illustrate it is very blurry. I think that where they cross the centerline, there’s no adjacent yellow to blur into the black and so it looks stronger there. If you favored the half-yellow pixels a bit more with where the end of the bars are, then they line up without a bridge. I think that other photos that are bit clearer bear this out.
But I also don’t think it makes rational sense. Someone sat at a computer and designed this pattern, and it seems strange that they would have put in that little bridge, instead of just simply alternating between long and short bars. It would take a conscious, deliberate effort to include it. I can’t think of any good reason.
I’ve gone around and found a bunch of alternate or interesting examples of hazard graphics being used.
Here’s a giant version being used in the Armory around the torpedo launcher:
In the Launch Bay as well, around the base of the walls:
CG versions are found on the exterior of the NX-01:
Here’s a variation applied to the torpedoes:
You’ll notice that the large piece is different in that it is two long bars next to one another. Also, they do not overlap the centerline. And there is no yellow border at the edges.
The Warning sticker has the long/short bars, but they do not overlap the centerline.
Here’s another sticker with mini hazard markings:
This version does overlap the centerline, suggesting it’s just the regular version shrunk down in size. But it doesn’t have the yellow border along the edge.
And another sticker:
On some equipment:
This kind of shows the optical illusion I mentioned. Where they touch, the black looks concentrated, like there might be something there. But a closer look, shows they are just next to each other:
Also notice that the yellow border is only on one side of the tape.
A close-up on an equipment case:
Interesting use on a stretcher:
Here it’s on a container:
Notice that there’s a bit of yellow on both sides.
Here’s that tray again:
And a different tray:
Now, I want to talk about a few observations and theories. First, when you really look, you see that 7/8 (long and short bars) length over and over, reinforcing that it is the regular length of the tape, and not an arbitrary application. Also, I want to repeat what was aside above:
I concur that that makes sense. It seems like something that would be intentional and part of the design rationale. Some images correspond to this idea, such as this above the shuttlepod door:
It is the exact width of the door. It’s also easy to believe the set designers might have picked this 36" dimension for the access hatch. Now, it’s certainly not proof, but it makes good sense.
There is one aspect of the design that makes me a little hesitant to assume that these bars are exactly 1 or 4 inches long. The standard lengths tend to have a bit of yellow on the end. So, maybe the tape is a little longer than 36", or the bar design is slightly smaller than that length. Perhaps, it was supposed to be perfectly 36" and they found they needed to shrink it slightly, maybe for the printing/application of the black bars to the vinyl. That could even explain why they overlap the centerline. They needed to do that so they would print correctly? Or, maybe the two short bars at either end are just not as long as the others? There are multiple explanations for this discrepancy.
So, there’s actually two people we could ask to find out the dimensions for a fact. One is Doug Drexler. I noted before that he had some of the tape and put it down on his garage floor. I thought I had the pictures handy, but I can’t find them. They’re visible in some of the photos of him showing his My Favorite Martian spacecraft to people. Maybe someone who’s talked to him before, concerning his appearances at the Star Trek Set Tour, could ask him for some measurements. Or even if he wanted to sell a sample to someone?
The other possibility is Martin Netter in Germany. He owns a shuttlepod that should have the tape on it, and given his inventory of other items, who knows what else he might have it on. Does anyone know him to ask?
This might seem rather esoteric to debate these points so much, but if we can figure out the exact dimensions of these markings, then they become super useful for dimensioning every set and object that they are applied to.