History of the Double-Barred Cross

In 1902, twenty years after Robert Koch discovered the tuberculosis germ, representatives from many countries met in Berlin to discuss how tuberculosis could be eliminated. This was a very courageous undertaking as tuberculosis was still the leading cause of death at the time.

Dr. Gilbert Sersiron, of Paris, France suggested that it would be appropriate for this endeavour or “crusade” to adopt the emblem of another crusader, the Duke of Lorraine. Godfrey of Bouillon who used the double-barred cross in 1099 which was itself a variation of the Jerusalem or Patriarcha, Cross.

Dr. Sersiron’s recommendation was adopted and the double-barred cross became the world-wide symbol of the fight against tuberculosis.

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease used this symbol as its logo from the time of its official creation in 1920 until 2002.  The union logo has now been amended from just the cross. However, the cross continues to be used by organisations around the world to indicate that they are part of this international movement.

The Canadian Lung Association, which began in 1900 as the Canadian Tuberculosis Association, used the double-barred cross to signify courage and success in the continued battle against all lung diseases until 2016. The American Lung Association continues to use the double-barred cross.

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Page Last Updated: 01/12/2016