The Rotary wheel logo comes from the earliest days of Rotary. The first design was developed by the engraver and Chicago Rotarian, Montague Bear. He drew a simple wagon wheel to show dust and motion. The wheel illustrated “civilisation and movement”, and most of the early clubs used some form of wagon wheel on their publications and letterheads. In 1922, at the same time that the name Rotary International was adopted, it was decided that all Rotary clubs should use a single design as the exclusive emblem of Rotarians. In 1923, following advise from a group of engineers, a keyway was added to the centre of the wheel and the design we know today was officially adopted as the emblem of Rotary International and Rotarians everywhere.
Paul P Harris was the founder of Rotary. Born in Racine, Wisconsin on April 19, 1868, Paul Harris spent his early years in Wellingford, Vermont. Following his graduation from the law school of the University of Iowa in 1891, he spent the next 5 years seeing the world and in coming to know his fellow man. He worked as a newspaper reporter, a business college teacher, a stock company actor, and as a cowboy. He traveled extensively across the USA and Europe as a salesman for a marble and granite company. It was these varied experiences broadened his vision and were of material assistance in the early extension of Rotary.
In 1896, Paul Harris went to Chicago to practice law. One day in 1900 he dined with a lawyer friend in Rogers Park, a residential section of Chicago. After dinner they went for a stroll and he was impressed by the fact that his friend stopped at several stores and shops and introduced him (Paul) to the proprietors, who were his friends. Mr Harris’ law clients were business friends, not social friends, but this experience cause him to wonder why he couldn’t make social friends out of at least some of his social friends. He resolved to organise a club which would band together a group of representative business and professional men in friendship and fellowship.
Paul Harris was only 37 years old when Rotary was founded. He was 44 when his 2-year tern as president of the International Association of Rotary Clubs (renamed Rotary International in 1922) ended in 1912. After that, he held no formal position in Rotary. But as the organisation’s founder, he continued to influence and inspire the organisation for the rest of his life. Paul Harris passed away in 1947, and the world mourned the loss of a great visionary. Paul’s vision created the spirit in Rotary as we know it today. For example: