The Chevrolet Bowtie, that iconic badge that's adorned an estimated 215 million cars and trucks, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Bowtie originally debuted on the 1914 Chevrolet H-2 Royal Mail and H-4 Baby Grand.

Rumors have long surrounded the Bowtie logo's origins, with some claiming it was borrowed from the wallpaper of a French hotel and others saying it came from Chevrolet founder Louis Chevrolet's homeland of Switzerland. William Durant, co-founder of Chevy, even had family members say differently.

Regardless of where the logo came from, since its first appearance on a pair of 1914 models and its appearance with the Chevrolet name in a 1913 edition of The Washington Post, it's become one of the most identifiable symbols in America, even though it has gone through a number of subtle evolutions (check out the gallery above to see what we mean). We look forward seeing it for a long time.
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Chevrolet's Iconic Bowtie Celebrates 100th Anniversary
Origin still uncertain, but 215 million cars and trucks have worn the badge since 1913

DETROIT – Chevrolet's globally recognized bowtie celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with 25 product launches helping the symbol find new roads around the world despite an origin that is still uncertain.

In 1913, Chevrolet co-founder William C. Durant introduced the signature Chevy bowtie on the 1914 Chevrolet H-2 Royal Mail and the H-4 Baby Grand, centered at the front of both models.

Sixty million Chevrolets are on the roads worldwide today and the bowtie has adorned 215 million Chevrolets over the last century. A Chevrolet car, crossover or truck is sold every 6.39 seconds in one of 140 countries, and the brand set a sales record of 2.5 million in the first six months of the year. The bowtie's centennial is marked by new entries, such as the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel compact sedan in the U.S. and the Trax small SUV in 40 international markets.

"The Chevrolet bowtie is recognized around the world and has become synonymous with American ingenuity," said Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney. "Whether you're pulling thousands of pounds through rocky terrain in a Silverado pickup or commuting in a Spark EV, Chevrolet's bowtie will always be at the very front of your travels."

While the bowtie has been present for 100 years, the details surrounding its origin are still uncertain. Stories range from Durant being inspired by the wallpaper design in a Parisian hotel to a newspaper advertisement he saw while vacationing in Hot Springs, Va. Durant's widow and daughter have offered alternative explanations.

According to Margery Durant, in her 1929 book My Father, Durant sometimes doodled nameplate designs on pieces of paper at the dinner table. "I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day," she wrote.

But in a 1968 interview, Durant's widow, Catherine, said the bowtie design originated from a Hot Springs vacation in 1912. While reading a newspaper in their hotel room, Durant spotted a design and exclaimed, "I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet." Unfortunately, Mrs. Durant never clarified what the motif was or how it was used.

But that nugget of information inspired Ken Kaufmann, historian and editor of The Chevrolet Review, to search out its validity. In a Nov. 12, 1911 edition of The Constitution newspaper, published in Atlanta, an advertisement appeared from by the Southern Compressed Coal Company for "Coalettes," a refined fuel product for fires. The Coalettes logo, as published in the ad, had a slanted bowtie form, very similar to the shape that would soon become the Chevrolet icon.

Did Durant and his wife see the same ad – or one similar – the following year a few states to the north? The date of the paper Kaufmann found was just nine days after the incorporation of the Chevrolet Motor Co. The first use of the bowtie by Chevrolet appeared in the Oct. 2, 1913 edition of The Washington Post with the words "Look for this nameplate" above the symbol.


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  • 60 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Happy birthday,Bowtie.
      anon
      • 1 Year Ago
      And ya ever notice on many cars it shows just the model not the brand-on the Passat there's no logo that says Volkswagen other than the VW logo same for Hyundai.
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's definitely iconic and identifies the brand. The gold tone has only been in place the last 31 of the 100 years. I feel it's time for a color change, as others on here have posted. The could go with black or a matte/brushed graphite look. Or do colors based on the market the vehicle is in. Green for eco, black for standard, red for performance. Something like that.
        Swagger
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Chevrolet used to do that, albeit inconsistently. Both blue and red bowties have been present throughout the years...I fondly remember the red outline bowtie on the Z24 I had in college. Only recently did Chevy switch to a single color - reportedly to convey a symbolic gold standard.
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      When I see the Chevrolet badge, I cringe and think "Rental".
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 1 Year Ago
      No, it isn't. It's tacky, especially in GOLD, and frequently too big. It detracts from the overall look of the vehicle.
      Number23
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the gold twinkie Chevy insists on foisting on nearly everything they build looks tacky.
      SquareFour
      • 1 Year Ago
      Eh, as far as logos go, it ain't bad, but I grew up in an era when that badge was tacked to grotesque Monte Carlos, truly horrible Citations, beater Celebrities, and rotting C/K pickups; so that logo, especially in gold, reminds me of WalMart parking lots and trashy, mulleted guys who would stop off at the 7-11 every evening after quittin' time to buy one of those tall cans of Natty Lite...you know, for the drive home.
        cgm9999
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SquareFour
        Don't understand the down votes, I feel the same way. It's a great logo in the sense that it's instantly recognizable and people instantly equate it to Chevy. However, there's no doubting that there's a negative connotation to it. When I see the Chevy "bow tie" (even the name for it is funny; the "bow tie" is a bow tie in the same sense of one that is on a tuxedo t-shirt), I can't help but think the same stereotypical stuff you mentioned. Hell, even GM has acknowledged the problem - in the past, Corvettes, Monte Carlos, and some Impalas did without the bowtie to show their aspirational status and to distance them from their more plebeian offerings.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SquareFour
        [blocked]
      ELG
      • 1 Year Ago
      wtf? paid advertisement?
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Ben Lee
      • 1 Year Ago
      the logo just looks OLD. the bowtie just dates every chevy car. or maybe chevy styling and the bowtie match. shouldnt it be on the corvette as well? weird right?
        The Friendly Grizzly
        @Ben Lee
        If you have a recognizable symbol, you don't toss it away because it is old. Chevrolet's badge is known virtually everywhere in the world. Same with the GE badge. You youngsters may not remember it, but there was a company called Radio Corporation of America several decades ago. They had a wonderful symbol from the Art Deco era that, again, was known to most of the world. Was it dated? It certainly was! But the main thing is, is that it was KNOWN. It was changed to something resembling stylized computer printing. Why? Change for the sake of it is often silly. Digital dashboards was one such change for the sake of it. Look how successful that was?
        ravenosa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ben Lee
        Chevy's "styling" dates every car. The cheap bowtie logo is just the cherry on top.
          the.fog
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ravenosa
          Said the 13 year old with a tablet.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ben Lee
        Riiight, because other car companies change their logos every few years to avoid having a logo that "just looks OLD".
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
          gtv4rudy
          • 1 Year Ago
          The only people buying Chevies in the US are people in their 40s and up. Younger folks go for Ford or the off shore brands.
        SquareFour
        • 1 Year Ago
        One doesn't have to hate GM to think the Chevy bow-tie is less than amazing.
      DesignWhuuu
      • 1 Year Ago
      This logo has to go, it looks like caca
        Basil Exposition
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DesignWhuuu
        Good call. While they are at it, MB should dump the 3 point star, BMW the roundel and Ford the Blue Oval. All so worthless.
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