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Evolution of an Emblem: The Arm & Hammer<br />Kim Munson, 2009<br />How did a universally understood<br />symbol of labor ...
Labor builds civilization<br />“Sing of Hephaistos, famed for his skill, clear-voiced muse, of him who with bright-eyed At...
Benefits of hard work, skilled craftsmanship.
Through writing and art, Renaissance interpretations of myths spread through Europe.</li></ul>Piero Di Cosimo, Vulcan and ...
Other “Hammers” in mythology<br />Other influential “hammers” in Western mythology include Thor the Norse thunder god and ...
British Trade Guilds<br />Heather Child, The Armorial Bearings of the Guilds of London<br />Although there is evidence of ...
US Mechanics Societies<br />The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of New York is a benevolent society formed in 178...
The Symbol Becomes a Standard<br />By the mid-1800’s, as printing and typesetting became more advanced, versions of the ar...
Flag & Seal of Wisconsin<br />The Wisconsin state flag, rich in <br />symbols of labor and agriculture,<br />chose the arm...
8 Hour Day Proclaimation<br />In 1869, federal employees won the 8 hour day without a<br />reduction in pay, signed into l...
Church & Dwight<br />Contemporary box from Church & Dwight <br />web site.  1878 logo from Hal Morgan, <br />Symbols of Am...
Armand Hammer<br />The man who wanted to<br />be “the baking soda king”<br />VS<br />Church & Dwight<br />Detail of Church...
Socialist Labor Party<br />The Socialist Labor Party of America<br />formally adopted the “uplifted Arm & Hammer”<br />as ...
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Evolution of an Emblem: the Arm & Hammer

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July 19 (Sunday) 1:00 PM (Free) Labor Archives and Research Center - SFSU 480 Winston Dr. SF. Presentation by Kim Munson. How did the arm and hammer end up on all those baking soda boxes? Art Historian Kim Munson shares her investigation of the origins of the arm & hammer from Greco-Roman myth and its role as an early union labor icon to its current usage as the Socialist Labor Party emblem and baking soda trademark.
Hosted by the Labor Archives and Research Center. Contact: larc@sfsu.edu Phone: 415-564-4010

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
  • Family lore has it that my great-great-grandfather, a blacksmith in western New York State, was the model for the original drawing. Supposedly, an itinerant artist spent some time sketching my ancestor at his work. I would love to be able to verify this. If Shanna Brawner sees this, please contact me.
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  • Hello: The paper related to this presentation is available at http://unionlabels.kimmunsondesign.com/labels2.html The link is right below the embedded presentation. It's also available at academia.edu Thanks to Trade With Dave for all the new traffic!
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  • I believe my grandfather's brother drew the arm & hammer for early advertising. My grandfather just passed away this week at 92 years old. I wonder what I will find out in the next few weeks as we go through things. He was also an amazing artist like his brother.
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  • Thanks Jamie - I could send it to you as a pdf. e-mail me at kim_munson (at) yahoo.com.
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  • Hi Kim,
    I've just stumbled across your slides and would love to have the opportunity to read the companion paper. Is there a way for me to get my hands on this?
    Thanks in advance for any help and great work on this presentation- fascinating stuff!
    Best,
    Jamie
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Evolution of an Emblem: the Arm & Hammer

  1. 1. Evolution of an Emblem: The Arm & Hammer<br />Kim Munson, 2009<br />How did a universally understood<br />symbol of labor become known <br />only as a logo for baking soda?<br />Clarence P. Hornung’sHandbook <br />of Early Advertising (Dover).<br />Text © Kim Munson, 2009<br />
  2. 2. Labor builds civilization<br />“Sing of Hephaistos, famed for his skill, clear-voiced muse, of him who with bright-eyed Athene taught glorious crafts to men on earth, who aforetime lived in caves like wild beasts.” – Homer<br /><ul><li>Painting cycle illustrates the Greco-Roman myth of Vulcan, the smith of the Gods, whose divine abilities helped humans tame fire, domesticate animals, develop language and other skills.
  3. 3. Benefits of hard work, skilled craftsmanship.
  4. 4. Through writing and art, Renaissance interpretations of myths spread through Europe.</li></ul>Piero Di Cosimo, Vulcan and Aeolus<br />c. 1495-1500, oil and tempera on canvas <br />155.5 x 166.5 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa<br />
  5. 5. Other “Hammers” in mythology<br />Other influential “hammers” in Western mythology include Thor the Norse thunder god and the Biblical quotation “Is not My Word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29). Myths such as these and folk tales like “John Henry” combined with the mystical beliefs attached to natural elements like thunder and fire, reinforce the symbol’s traditional meanings.<br />Hammer = creative/destructive male strength, the sun, thunderbolts, authority, divine skill, industry, protection, fertility, creative intelligence.<br />Fire = purification, revelation, resurrection, transcendence, passion, Divine Energy, the Holy Spirit. A destructive force of nature, yet a domestic comfort.<br />Title page, 1566 2nd edition of Nicolaus<br />Copernicus’ (1473-1543) De revolutionibus<br />orbiumcoelestium (On the Revolutions of <br />the Heavenly Spheres) with colophon of the German printer Heinrich Petri.<br />Joe Madureira. Cover of TheUltimates 3, #4 (2008). Marvel Comics.<br />
  6. 6. British Trade Guilds<br />Heather Child, The Armorial Bearings of the Guilds of London<br />Although there is evidence of earlier use, The Farriers (left) were officially awarded their arms in 1673 and the Blacksmiths were granted theirs in 1613.<br />
  7. 7. US Mechanics Societies<br />The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of New York is a benevolent society formed in 1785. Notice the <br />combination of motto and emblem.<br />Other Mechanic’s societies began appearing in US cities like Boston in 1794, and the movement gradually crossed the US, even making it to Gold Rush San Francisco in 1854.<br />General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, 1785<br />Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association, 1795<br />Mechanics’ Institute, 1854<br />
  8. 8. The Symbol Becomes a Standard<br />By the mid-1800’s, as printing and typesetting became more advanced, versions of the arm & hammer were included in type founder’s specimen books . In this way the symbol became standardized and widely used not only by Mechanic’s societies but also as a general emblem of labor. <br />Page 182 of Clarence Hornung’sHandbook of Early Advertising (Dover).<br />Although the Masons use a gavel/hammer as a symbol of the Lodge Master <br />(creative intelligence), symbol #1, seen above is the official seal of the Junior <br />Order of Mechanics (adopted in 1845), and is not a Masonic symbol.<br />
  9. 9. Flag & Seal of Wisconsin<br />The Wisconsin state flag, rich in <br />symbols of labor and agriculture,<br />chose the arm & hammer as a <br />symbol of manufacturing in 1848.<br />The Marchex world flag database<br />
  10. 10. 8 Hour Day Proclaimation<br />In 1869, federal employees won the 8 hour day without a<br />reduction in pay, signed into law by President Grant. See the arm & hammer in the bottom center.<br />Collection of the Library of Congress<br />
  11. 11. Church & Dwight<br />Contemporary box from Church & Dwight <br />web site. 1878 logo from Hal Morgan, <br />Symbols of America<br />Artifact from the Labor Archives & Research <br />Center, SFSU<br />Church & Sons, (later Church and Dwight) started using the arm & hammer<br />emblem in 1878, inspired by an earlier family venture ‘Vulcan Spice Mills,’ <br />which used a similar logo. <br />The “Honest Labor” tin is another example of the Arm & Hammer used as a<br />product label.<br />
  12. 12. Armand Hammer<br />The man who wanted to<br />be “the baking soda king”<br />VS<br />Church & Dwight<br />Detail of Church & Dwight’s <br />Arm & Hammer trademark.<br />Armand Hammer (1898-1990), <br />Businessman, Founder of Occidental <br />Petroleum. Art Collector, Founder of the <br />Hammer Museum at UCLA. <br />Church & Dwight had already been using the arm & hammer symbol 31 years<br />before industrialist Armand Hammer was born. He was NOT involved in the<br />company, although he made several take-over attempts. In 1985 Oxy entered <br />into a joint venture with C&D and was he was finally awarded a seat on their <br />board. As a joke he painted the logo on the side of his yacht. <br />
  13. 13. Socialist Labor Party<br />The Socialist Labor Party of America<br />formally adopted the “uplifted Arm & Hammer”<br />as their emblem and ratified it into their<br />constitution at the eleventh national convention<br />in New York, 1904. It is still prominently featured<br />in all related publications. <br />Graphics from http://www.slp.org<br />
  14. 14. The Co-Operative Common Wealth, 1898<br />Collection of the Library of Congress<br />
  15. 15. <ul><li>Back cover of Industrial Pioneer, 1925
  16. 16. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1865.
  17. 17. One work from a series by Warhol and Basquiat, 1984.
  18. 18. Vulcan Tools logo, 1999.
  19. 19. photo by Rakka, 2008.</li>

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