The horse-shoe, associated usually with some other symbol, is not infrequently seen displayed on the signs of British taverns. There is a well-known hostelry bearing this sign and name on Tottenham Court Road in London. To quote from "The History of Signboards," by Jacob Larwood and John Camden Hot ten:--
The Three Horse-shoes are not uncommon, and the single shoe may be met with in many combinations, arising from the old belief in its lucky influences. Thus the Horse and Horse-Shoe was the sign of William Warden at Dover, as appears from his token. The Sun and Horse-Shoe is still a public-house sign in Great Tichfield Street, and the Magpie and Horse-Shoe may be seen carved in Fetter Lane; the magpie is perched within the horse-shoe, a bunch of grapes being suspended from it. The Horns and Horse-shoe is represented on the token of William Grainge, in Gutter Lane, 1666, a horse-shoe within a pair of antlers. The Hoop and Horseshoe on Tower Hill was formerly called the Horse-shoe.
Miller Christy, in his book "The Trade Signs of Essex," says that horse-shoe signs probably owe their origin partly to the fact that this symbol appears on the arms of the Farriers' Company, and partly to the old practice of fastening a horse-shoe upon the stable-door or elsewhere as a witch-scarer. In the county of Essex the horse-shoe may be seen upon the signs of beerhouses at Great Parndon, Braintree, Waltham Abbey, and High Ongar.
There was formerly more than one noted inn in London known as the Half-Moon, and a street of that name, leading from Piccadilly, is well known. The name and symbol of the full moon, however, seldom appear on sign-boards. Butler asks in "Hudibras:"--
Tell me, but what's the nat'ral cause,
Why on a sign no painter draws
The full moon, but the half?
The reason is doubtless because of the favorable auspices associated from time immemorial with the crescent moon.
One need hardly accept as plausible the explanation sometimes offered, namely, that the half-moon tavern symbol is a silent invitation to eat and drink to one's full capacity; a hint, as it were, to follow the crescent moon's example and "get full."