Morton Salt Logo

Everyone recognizes the little girl with her umbrella in one hand and an upturned container of salt. This special logo of the Morton Salt Company has been around for more than 100 years. The Morton Salt Company started in Chicago in the 1800s and was originally called Richmond & Company.

In 1889, a man named Joy Morton acquired a major interest in the company. There had just been a large demand for salt for the meatpacking companies. The salt company became incorporated as Morton Salt Company in 1910.

In the early 1900s, individuals using salt saw a problem and let the Morton Salt Company know about it. The salt became clump in rainy or humid weather making people chisel apart the rock-hard slabs of salt just to make a few sprinkles. Salt tends to absorb water vapor in the air causing this clumping. The Morton Salt Company in 1911 started adding magnesium carbonate which prevented the salt from clumping and now the salt was the world’s first free-pouring salt. Years later the Morton Company switched to using calcium silicate to create the same result. With the first flowing salt, the Morton Company also added an easy-pour spout on the top of their round blue container.

To promote the new free-flowing salt, Morton hired the N. W. Ayer & Company to come up with an advertising idea. The major selection of ideas did not impress the Morton officers. However, Joy Mortin’s son, Sterling Morton loved a backup idea shown of a curly-haired little girl with an umbrella in one hand and s spilling salt container in another. Sterling thought the illustration best presented that their salt would run even when it was damp and rainy outside.

The girl in the illustration was not drawn using any model but rather the illustrator’s own idea of a sweet young girl. Some of the suggested slogans to go with the illustration included: “Even in rainy weather, it flows freely.” Management thought it seemed a little wordy, while other suggestions, like “Flows Freely” or “Runs Freely,” also failed to appeal. One proposal, however — “It never rains but it pours” was liked. That phrase dates back to 1726 and referred to events – good and bad, happening in droves. So Morton took that phrase and came up with “When It Rains It Pours.” The new illustration and the phrase first appeared as an ad in Good Housekeeping magazine in October 1914.

Over the decades the illustration of the girl has been updated six times. This ad with the little girl was named one of the top 10 female ad icons of all time in 2012.

Photo: Morton Salt Logo – Changed 6 Times.

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