Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So….what’s the deal with the windmill?

So….what’s the deal with the windmill?  Ever noticed the tiny little windmill within the red circle on our Chapman Logo? Well, neither have I.  I mean, I see it every day, on our trucks, on our invoices, everywhere. But, I never really thought about the windmill and its significance to our business or to our industry. I guess I just always assumed it represented sort of a giant fan. That’s perfect for an air-conditioning business, right? Wrong!  When I went to the source (aka Mr. Chapman) and asked him how he came up with the idea for the logo I was a little surprised at his answer.

I was ready to hear all about the “history of windmills” from Mr. C. (um, you have to know him). So, I did a smidge of research first. Seems they were first used in Persia in 600 AD. They actually used sails as opposed to blades to catch the wind in order to grind grain. Europeans began using them by the 1100’s for grinding grain as well as for pumping water. The American windmill began to be used in the 1800’s by farmers. This version had blades made of wood or steel. They were used to pump water for farm animals and some were even used to provide water for household use. And that brings us to the modern windmill that is used today to produce electricity. They are called “wind turbines” and are used today all over the United States.  

Windmills in West Texas
Preliminary Logo Designs
So, what does all of this have to do with our little logo? Not much, actually. Mr. Chapman says that he came up with the idea for the logo from a photo he took on a family vacation driving through west Texas.  On one of the many (he emphasized many) pit stops for the little ones, he shot a picture of a windmill with the sun setting directly behind it. It turned out to be a great shot and became of sort of a family favorite.

So, when he began his business in 1981, and family members began to weigh in on what it should be called, logos, etc.; someone brought up that photo. So, he thought, “windmills = fans, energy, air-conditioning…that’ll work.”  So, he designed a little graphic that mimicked the photo.  And we have used the same logo (at times in a different color) ever since.

So, what did I learn? While the windmill may represent energy, and we are in the “energy saving” business, it was not the inspiration for the logo. It was more inspired by family, which is fitting, as we are a family business with over 30 years of history and still going.

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