Remembering a Kilowatt Named Reddy

From the Cass County Star Gazette:

Reddy Kilowatt is anything but your average company spokesman. After all, this fellow has lightning bolts for a body, a light bulb for a nose and electrical outlets in the place of ears.
Reddy Kilowatt achieved fame throughout downstate Illinois after Central Illinois Public Service Company (CIPS) hired Reddy as their spokesman back in the late 1930s.

Speedy Kilowatt?

Got this email a while back—with a fun photo. Ever seen a Reddy Kilowatt speedboat? Now you have.

My name is Michael Terry, My grandfather, Doc Terry, was the crew chief of this boat in 1955 when it won the Gold Cup. I just found this web site and thought I would pass this on. This pic was taken [in August 2016] in Detroit. This boat is an exact replica of the original from 1955. Gale was an electrical contractor in the Detroit area at that time. They only used Reddy Kilowatt for one year, As I am told the caught some slack from the company that owned the logo so for 1956 they changed it some. The boat owners wife’s name was Millie so they called the new logo, you guessed it MillieVolt.

Thank you, Michael!

While we’re at it, here’s Reddy on an electric car in Barbados!

I heard that at one time Reddy was licensed in 13 different countries, including Cuba (to Cuban Electric where he was known as “K-Listo Kilovatito”).

Hydroelectric history preservation with artifact

Over half a century, the soles of thousands of shoes left their mark on one of the remaining relics of a once booming energy and electric Municipal District of Bighorn community.

Even after all the years of dirt smudged stains and icy snow clumps being dragged over it, and anything else the bottom of a pair of shoes can transport, the smiling face of the Reddy Kilowatt logo, with its light bulb nose and electrical outlet for an ear, greeted Bow Valley visitors for decades – and will continue to do so.

Reddy Kilowatt, an internationally recognized registered trademark to promote electrical appliances since 1926, lay in place on a floor in a staff house for Calgary Power (now TransAlta) in the Seebe settlement from the late 1950s to late 2000s.

Larger-than-life Reddy

Damn! A good man named Mike Lawson has shared not just the existence of a massive, illuminated Reddy sign, but a time-lapse of it being brought back to life.

reddy lighted 2

In his words:

Hello Bill,

Attached are some pictures of the completed sign. Below is a link to a time lapse presentation of us installing the sign. It is located in the Agricultural and Industrial Museum of York (PA). I hope you enjoy these. Do you know of any other similar Reddy Kilowatt signs? Could this be the largest one still in existence? Thanks for your reply.

Regards,
Mike Lawson (The guy in the “Reddy” pose in the picture)

That’s many kilowatts of awesome.

Reddy Kilowatt Records at The Smithsonian, 1926-1999

Looks like the Smithsonian Institution has 199 boxes of Reddy Kilowatt history. Everything was donated by Xcel Energy in 2005.

Bio / His Notes:
The Reddy Kilowatt trademark was created in 1926 by Ashton B. Collins. Reddy Kilowatt, Inc. licensed the trademark promotion and identification purposes by more than 150 investor-owned electric utilities in the United States and at least 12 foreign countries. The company later changed its name to Reddy Communications, Inc. In 1998 Northern States Power Company bought Reddy Communications and its assets, later changing its name to Xcel Energy.

Scope and Content:
Records documenting the development and use of Reddy’s licensed trademark, the stick figure “Reddy Kilowatt.” The figure was used to promote electrical appliances and other consumer use of electricity, as well as to promote energy conservation during World War II. The records include historical materials about Ashton B. Collins, Reddy’s creator and founder of the company. These include letters, speeches, memoranda, photographs and scrapbooks documenting his early career in the electrical power industry. Also included are company publications, advertisements, presentation materials, reports, company histories, and promotional items including materials directed at children such as comic and coloring books. Audiovisual materials include motion picture films, audiodiscs, audiotapes, and filmstrips. The audiotapes include recorded speeches by persons such as Benjamin Hooks, Barry Commoner, and John W. Gofman.

More: Reddy Kilowatt Records, 1926-1999.

Not a mascot, but ‘The Helper’

Meet The Helper, a slightly Reddy-inspired Donald Duck character. Well, maybe you’d already met him but I hadn’t. He’s been around since the 1950s and is “a kind of microbot.”

In Gyro’s First Invention Don Rosa shows that the Helper was constructed in 1952. He is built out of a lamp previous owned by Donald Duck. Some mysterious way the lamp became alive and intelligent when Donald accidentally hit Gyro in his head with it so that Gyro’s head hit his unfinished mindbox. Later Gyro gave the main part of the lamp mechanical legs and arms so that it could be able to cross obstacles. To avoid vibrations while moving it was also equipped with dolls shoes … and finally Donald put on a light-bulb so that it could light up its surroundings.

Pretty neat. Hat tip to Tom R. for pointing him out.