The Winged Ear Logo
Image Courtesy of DeKalb County Farm Bureau
Northeast corner of Lincoln Highway (IL Rt. 38) and 4th Street, DeKalb.
DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, Inc. (www.DAAHA.org) and The Illinois State Historical Society
The DEKALB® brand winged ear logo is perhaps one of the most widely-recognized agricultural trademarks in the world. Over the years it has undergone many design enhancements from the original concept. But the same iconic image of a flying ear of corn, first conceived in 1935 here in DeKalb, remains. The original concept behind the logo is credited to DeKalb Agricultural Association founder Tom Roberts Sr. He believed that the increased yields from newly-developed DEKALB® hybrid corn would help “lift” farmers’ mortgages, even as dairy cows and hogs had done earlier. When employee Ken Kramer suggested putting wings on an ear of corn, Roberts immediately approved. The basic design of the company’s logo was thus born. The first appearance of the winged ear with the words “DEKALB Quality Hybrid Will Be Your Mortgage Lifter" was in October 1935 on company letterhead. An enhanced version of the logo developed by an ad agency was legally registered with the U.S. Patent Office as the company’s trademark on August 25, 1936 and assigned trademark registration number 337,915. The new logo was first used in an advertisement which appeared in the Prairie Farmer magazine dated October 24, 1936. In 1938, the first signs appeared in farmers fields.
In 1998 Monsanto purchased DEKALB Genetics Corporation and now proudly owns the DEKALB® brand and the winged ear logo that represents it. Today the DEKALB® brand and the winged ear logo are legally registered as trademarks of Monsanto in more than 80 countries worldwide.
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