Do you ever wonder how things are discovered? Like the Chevrolet bowtie, the iconic emblem that represents one of the most recognized brands in the world today. In 1913, company co-founder William C. Durant introduced the significant symbol, although how it came to be is somewhat of a mystery.
There are a number of different theories on how Chevrolet’s bowtie was discovered. Although there have been conflicting accounts, there have been a few ideas uncovered, each of which is fairly plausible. Two theories come from within the Durant family.
Wallpaper in a French Hotel.
The most well-known and widely accepted version was confirmed by Durant himself.
According to The Chevrolet Story of 1961, an official company publication issued in celebration of Chevrolet’s 50th anniversary:
“It originated in Durant’s imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends, with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car.”
Was it between the fried chicken and the soup?
Funny story for a theory! In 1929, Durant’s daughter, Margery, published a book entitled, My Father. In the book, she described how Durant often doodled designs on pieces of paper at the dinner table.
Or from a newspaper ad?
About 60 years later, another story was recounted in a 1986 issue of Chevrolet Pro Management Magazine, based on a 13-year-old interview with Durant’s widow, Catherine. She recalled a vacation in Hot Springs, Virginia in 1912. While reading a newspaper in a hotel, Durant saw a design and said, “I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet.”
The Swiss flag theory.
One other explanation notes the Chevrolet emblem is significantly close to a stylized version of the cross of the Swiss flag. Louis Chevrolet, founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company, was born in Switzerland to French parents. So this theory is not only plausible but also logical.
Whichever origin is accurate, the bowtie is now the definitive Chevrolet logo. In 1913, an edition of the Washington Post seems to be the earliest introduction to the emblem to advertise the brand. “Look for this nameplate” the ad proclaims above the emblem.
Today’s bowtie: A Gold Standard.
Different styles and colors have come and gone over the years since the bowtie’s introduction in the 1900s, but the concept of the logo has never faltered. In 2004, Chevrolet began to phase in the gold bowtie that today serves as the brand identity for all of its cars and trucks marketed globally.