Learn all sorts of amazing Chicago facts about the Municipal Device and other aspects of Chicago at our awesome Public Library’s site. Introduced in 1892 as part of a Chicago Tribune contest, the Device was enshrined in our Municipal Code in 1917, along with the flag. The Municipal Device was intended for public re-use, to show our pride. During the next century, though, the flag stole our hearts.
An image of the Municipal Device, courtesy Chicago Public Library.
Hippies doomed the Municipal Device with their peace symbol, an upside Municipal Device hated by Chicago Police in the 1960s… Moving on… here’s an early example of a Municipal Device with the center ‘Y’ in red. That was the traditional depiction of the device, until they realized it was easier to make the whole thing white instead of terra cotta down the center. The Columbian Exposition needed white ones, and so here we are. All this is rumor I’ve heard from researching this project, chatting with Tim Samuelson and various librarians. Cool cats, all.
Original Municipal Device from the the Chicago Association of Commerce’s Great Central Market.
Other folks who geek out about symnbols have lots to say about this one: