34 minutes ago
Ah, the seventies. The decade of the iconic happy face and the message "Have a nice/happy day". Bernard and Murray Spain would like us to think it was their idea, but actually, the happy face was invented in 1963 by Harvey Ross Ball of Worcester, Mass. He was hired as an add man and graphics artist for Hanover/State Mutual Insurance when they merged with Guarantee Mutual of Ohio. The merge was difficult and Harvey was asked to invent a moral booster to keep the employees smiling especially while on the phone or doing inter-office business. Harvey invented the quirky face with the odd eyes and imperfect smile in ten minutes and they paid him a fast $45 for it. (A lot back then). The company handed out over a hundred buttons for all the employees to wear. It became so popular, it was also sold in shops around the city. Others took notice. Though Harvey had a lot of photo proof it was his idea, he did not copyright/trademark the logo. Bernard and Murray Spain, (owners of Hallmark card shops), unfairly appropriated it and went on to rearrange the face, add the slogan "Have a happy/nice day" to it, and got a patent for it. Millions of buttons, t-shirts, posters and much more were sold world wide. They even had the nerve to go on "What's My Line" and take credit for its creation. (Now debunked). When a French newspaper man, Franklin Loufrani, started using it to apply to good news stories, he too changed the icon and fully copyrighted/trademarked it and called his company "The Smiley Co" and went world wide as well. The "Smiley" became part of Walmart's advertising promo in 1996 and when Loufrani tried to copyright it in the US, he fought with them for ten years over it and it was decide that the icon is too universal to be owned by any one entity and was settled out
of court. Although the company still claims it is the rightful owner of the smiley, it is used by many freely and they can't do much about it. Even Forrest Gump has his moment. Smiley is found everywhere from emojis, on Ecstasy pills, Bandaids, candy, in the movies and fashion even today. So, its history is no longer a mystery. Here's to Harvey Ross Ball, the true originator.