Things that are shaped in an octagon shape

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Things that are shaped in an octagon shape
Most umbrellas, though not all of them, have eight ribs, which makes them octagonal in shape when opened. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Circular, rectangular and triangular items are quite common, but finding real-life examples of octagons can be difficult, since few objects are guaranteed to always be octagons. In addition to those few items, there are a handful of objects that are frequently, though not always, octagonal, along with others that, while not normally octagonal, may be designed using that shape for either functional or decorative purposes.

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Stop signs

The stop sign is the only road sign in the United Kingdom to have an octagonal shape. Most other signs are triangles, rectangles or circles, although there are a few other exceptions, such as the St. Andrew's cross that indicates rail crossings. Combined with its bright red colour, the stop sign's unique shape makes it very noticeable and immediately recognisable.

Quality Street tins

Stacks of tins containing individually-wrapped sweets are a common sight in supermarkets in the run up to Christmas. While the Cadbury Roses and Celebrations sweets are sold in round tins, the tins containing the traditional Quality Street chocolates are octagonal.

Umbrellas

Most umbrellas, though not all of them, have eight ribs, which makes them octagonal in shape when opened. Some specialty umbrellas, such as rainbow ones, may have more ribs, while pocket umbrellas designed to fold up very small may have less. However, chances are that on the next rainy day you will be protecting yourself with an octagonal umbrella, as will most people around you.

Carpenter pencils

Although the cross-section of most pencils is either a regular hexagon or a circle, carpenter pencils are the exception. The shape of these pencils is designed to keep them from rolling when placed on an incline. Because of this, the cross-section of many carpenter pencils is an irregular hexagon, although some may have an oval or rectangular cross-section.

Buildings

Buildings with an octagonal floor plan are rare, but not unheard of. Castel Del Monte, in the south of Italy, is a unique octagonal citadel with octagonal towers at each corner; also in Italy is the Battistero di San Giovanni, a free-standing octagonal baptistery in Florence bearing intricately-sculpted bronze doors. Chinese pagodas are traditionally octagonal, as is the replica found in London's Kew Gardens.

Home design and decor

Many items you may use for home decor, such as lampshades, mirrors, frames and candles, can be octagonal in shape. If you have tiled floors or walls in your home, their design may include octagonal tiles; some houses also have octagonal windows.

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