Happy World Smiley Day!
Did you know that The classic smiley face was created right here in Worcester?
That’s right! On 1963 The State Mutual Life Assurance Company, now known as Hanover insurance, was worried about low morale in there company. To help with low morale they decided to hire local an independent graphic designer, Harvey Ball, to create a happy graphic that could be placed on shirts or pins. It did not take long for Harvey to complete this project, he drew a perfect circle put a smile, colored it yellow and, to prevent people from just turning it upside down to a sad face, put two black oval shaped eyes. In ten minutes he create the smiley face.
This came to be known to many as the Worcester smiley or the Harvey ball smiley and became very popular with the employees boasting morale for the company. However this was at the time a very local thing and it wouldn’t be till a few years later in the late 60(s) that a Philadelphia shop keeper, Barnard Spain, would get his hand on a supply of yellow smiley faces. With morale low in the country, due to racial tensions civil unrest, and the growing unpopular Vietnam war, this and added with the hippy movement in full swing it wasn’t a surprise that the smiley face would be such a success even rivaling the iconic peace sign and would lead to him and his brother to copyright a slightly different smiley with larger arches with the caption “Have a Happy day!” and make a fortune off of it. Soon many different people and individuals from French journalist to Walmart tried to get their hands on the copyright to the smiley face. However the original creator Harvey ball refused to apply for copyright despite having an ironclad case for his creation or the smiley face not wanting to commercialize his creation. On October 2nd, 1999 thirty-six years after he created the smiley face right in Worcester the USA stamp dedicated to the smiley face was unveiled. On that day Harvey declared that the first Friday of October was to be known as “World Smile Day” as a day based on no political views or religions, but simply a day to be happy and to make others happy. On April 12, 2001 Harvey would pass away due to liver failure but his legacy would live on with the world Smiley foundation dedicated to making the world a happier place though funding of good works and charities.