Rotary Club of East Jefferson County, Washington
Volume 2, Issue 7
July 2003
Our Rotary wheel keeps us movin' along
The original Rotary wheel design

I decided it was time to add some color to our club newsletter's masthead. As I was playing around with it, I began wondering about the Rotary wheel. What did the first design look like? Who made it? Why a wheel? Because Rotary meeting venues used to rotate?

Snooping around online produced some conflicting answers — but, that won't surprise anyone who's ever done any historical research.

Depending on the source, two different men were credited with the first buggy wheel design, printer Harry Ruggles and/or engraver Montague M. Bear. One could say, "Go with what Rotary International says." or "The ABCs of Rotary is right." The genealogist in me, however, prefers to get as close to the original source as possible.

In 1970, George Cooper was editor of the Gyrator, the Rotary One-Chicago club bulletin. The following is taken largely from an article he wrote. Other details came from a Rotary International history and tidbits from other Rotary Web sites.

Rotary wheel 1906/07
Invention of the RI Wheel
In 1905, Paul Harris and his club agreed a wheel should be the emblem of Rotary. Harry Ruggles, a printer, chose a buggy wheel that was simple in design, a bold circle with a hub and spokes. It was enthusiastically accepted by the first Rotary Club, of which Ruggles was member number five. Ruggles is therefore credited for designing the first "print" or "name badge" version of the wheel.
Rotary wheel 1911-1914

By 1906, some thought the design was too plain. Montague M. Bear, an engraver, added a few clouds (that looked like dust) and little marks to the design to indicate a wheel in motion. The words "Rotary Club" were added above the wheel.

When someone pointed out that a "cloud of dust could not be raised fore and aft, even by Rotary," the design was changed again. The clouds of dust were subdued and a ribbon reading "Rotary Club" was added across the wheel. The words "Rotary Club", above the wheel, were replaced by "Chicago".

Other Rotary clubs had been forming, using the wheel as a basic design. Many added features to identify their club with their city, such as a buffalo for Buffalo, N.Y., an oak tree for Oakland, Calif., etcetera.

In 1910, there were 16 Rotary Clubs and 16 designs. That was the year of the first Rotary convention, held in Chicago, the birthplace of Rotary. The National Association of Rotary Clubs was formed. The word "Chicago", above the wheel, was replaced by "National Association".


Rotary wheel 1913-1923
1912/13 to 1923
In blue and gold

The direct forerunner of the official Rotary emblem came from the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, which was developing its first emblem around 1911. In 1912, a gear wheel in royal blue and gold was adopted as the official emblem. (By 1920, there were 57 different emblems nationally.)

After they complained the wheel was mechanically unsound, Oscar B. Bjoge and Charles Henry Mackintosk redesigned it. Within a couple of years, it was noted that the wheel had no keyway (notched hole in the middle) and, without it, the gear was not capable of transmitting power to, or from, the shaft.

Modern Rotary wheel

The re-engineered, mechanically-correct Rotary wheel was approved by the RI Board in 1924. The “new” emblem, in royal blue and gold, has remained unchanged — and working happily — ever since.

Click here, if you're online, to see a page of Rotary logos from throughout the "ages". (Be patient if you're on dial-up, it's a large image. 121KB ) Sorry, I can't tell you where the page was originally copied from. No one who had this on their site noted the source.


Upcoming Programs
Thursdays at noon

August 7
John Barrett
Rotary scholarships

August 14
Larry Wiener
Chuck Boggs
Classification talks

August 21
Tim Manly

August 28
Tom McNerney
Tri-Area Growth Plan

September 4
Ogie Shaw

September 11
Mark Bowes
Emergency Preparedness


Did you recognize last month's Rotarian in "A blast from the past. . ."? It was Dee Weinstein.

Hadlock Building Supply duo honored by president

Joe Lovato and Morris James

Joe Lovato and Morris James

As our last year's president, Milt Morris, was preparing his thoughts for his "outstallation" dinner, he was drawn to the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self.

"As I thought about that concept, I decided I wanted to personally recognize two individuals who I believe represent that ideal. Those two were, as you know, Joe Lovato and Morris James," Milt recalled.

"These two men can be counted on in good times, in bad times — and, as near as I can tell, any time — to give of themselves, their time, their money and their unselfish effort to help everyone in this community.

"My first memory was when their store was torched by an arsonist and they kept most, if not all, of their employees on the payroll so their families wouldn't suffer. Business was being conducted out of a trailer and what was left of the lumberyard. Profits, if any, had to be minimal," Milt said.

"As near as I know, they donate to every cause, every fundraiser and every event that comes knocking at their door. Two such events occurred most recently. When Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington (our local superintendent of schools) left, they hired the Chimacum High School band to play a concert in their parking lot in her honor," Milt said. "And then, in the week preceding the fourth of July, they handed out thousands of U.S. flags to help the community celebrate.

"Joe has spent hundreds of hours working with Friends of Chimacum Schools Education Foundation. Morris is always available if you need his help, advice or his Model T
Ford. Just ask the organizers of Hadlock Days," Milt smiled. "I truly believe there isn't any good cause that could occur in this community that these two gentlemen wouldn't come forward to support, if they were asked. For these reasons — and many, many more — I decided to personally recognize Joe Lovato and Morris James, as truly representing the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self."

History site offers Paul Harris' words

A dozen different Rotary history sites have been combined into one growing archive. Rotary's Global History Project is at

Its disclaimer states, "The contents of this project have been researched, collected, compiled, and written by Rotarians to preserve the history and underlying philosophies of the Rotary movement. This project is neither endorsed, sponsored, monitored, nor affiliated with Rotary International, but is affiliated with individual Rotary districts, clubs, other Rotary organizations and enjoys the support of individual Rotarians, clubs, districts, and zones all over the globe."

One of the site's offerings is "What Paul Harris Said", a weekly "History Minute". Click here to be taken to the sign-up page.

Paul Harris
Paul Harris
By E.M.R. Weiner

Click here to sign up!

Joint Rotary installation story's online

If you missed the Port Townsend/Jefferson County Leader's story about the joint installation of our three local Rotary clubs, it's online at:

Wednesday July 9, 2003 edition
Rodrigues, Wilson, Williams take gavels of three county Rotary clubs
"During what might have been the largest collection of Rotary Club members in Jefferson County history, three new presidents were installed in the three local clubs during a joint banquet July 1.
John Rodrigues was installed as president of the East Jefferson County Rotary Club, based in the Tri-Area. Scott Wilson was installed as president of Port Townsend Rotary. And Joni Williams was installed as president of the new Port Townsend Sunrise (breakfast) club.

Installation of our Rotary club presidents

"About 150 Rotary Club members from all three clubs came to their feet several times during the banquet to congratulate outgoing presidents and to acknowledge some special guests at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge. . . "

Read the rest of the Leader story online. Or, if you didn't read the installation story in last month's RC newsletter, it's still online, too.

DG Bill McCarthy installs our Three Musketeers: Scott Wilson, Joanie Williams and John Rodrigues.
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