"Toilet signage itself has a relatively young history, following that of the public loo, which only became common in the late nineteenth century, stimulated by increasing mobility and the separation of work from home. Public conveniences first appeared in British railway stations and department stores, but the practice was then exported through the British empire.
These early signs were text-based but increasingly mobile populations in the twentieth century encouraged the development of pictorial systems that did not require shared language. Visual languages such as the US Department of Transportation symbol system designed in 1974 - the first comprehensive pictogram system - and systems developed for the Olympics aimed for universality but very much reflected their Germanic roots in abstract systems such as those of Otto Neurath. Once embraced by international communications and business, they became part of the International Style."
(Lynne Ciochetto, 13 August 2009)
[This set of international toilet signs clearly indicates that cultural interpretation is key to the construction and interpretation of meaning. That despite the universality of human biology culture still plays a significant role in the construction meaning.]