By: Herrick Kimball
Back in 2009 I developed plans for a garden wheel hoe with an oscillating stirrup blade (Click Here to learn about the wheel hoe). I called it the Whizbang wheel hoe because I had already developed several different Whizbang products, including the world-famous Whizbang Chicken Plucker.
My wheel hoe was an improved modern incarnation of the old Planet Jr. wheel hoe produced by Samuel Leeds Allen back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I happened to have a Planet Jr. wheel hoe and a few old Planet Jr. catalogs. It was a unique company.
|An old Planet Jr. tool catalog|
Samuel Leeds Allen was an amateur astronomer as well as an inventor. One of his first inventions was a planter made with a couple of wash basins. The planter reminded Mr. Allen of the planet Saturn. So he adopted Saturn as the Planet Jr. company logo. Exactly how the name name, Planet Jr., came to be is a complete mystery to me.
|The old Planet Jr. logo|
Planet Jr. was once a very big company with a worldwide market. That unusual (but memorable) name and logo was as well known and recognized as John Deere is today.
Inspired by the Planet Jr. name, I decided to rename my wheel hoe the Planet Whizbang wheel hoe. Then it occurred to me that I should rename my whole business from Whizbang Books, to Planet Whizbang, and that's what I did.
When I considered the possibility of a unique logo for my new business name, I wanted it to have some out-of-this world, or planetary theme in deference to the old Planet Jr. logo. But I also wanted the Planet Whizbang trademark to have a decidedly down-to-earth aspect. In other words, I wanted a totally oxymoronic logo.
This was quite a conumdrum. But in a flash of pure inspiration, I came up with the idea of a leafy beet surrounded by golden Saturnal rings.
|This is the Planet Whizbang concept drawing I gave to my graphic designer|
What, I ask you, is more down to earth than a beet? Perhaps a potato but, as much as I respect and appreciate potatoes (after all, my grandfather was a potato farmer), they do not compare to the beet for visual appeal.
I strongly considered a carrot because, truth be known, I’m especially fond of carrots. But your average carrot is simply not globular enough for the job.
Turnips came to mind. I love the two-tone color of the root. But turnips are a little too obscure.
Rutabagas (known by the old timers as “swedes”) are more obscure than turnips but they are probably the one root crop that looks most like a planet than any other. Nevertheless, rutabagas are not nearly as recognizable (or respected) as the beet.
Radishes? Well, radishes are certainly earthy. But it’s hard for me to take radishes seriously.
And so it was that I chose a lovely beet with its delightful red-veined green foliage and, of course, the Saturnal rings.
When I first showed my wife the new Planet Whizbang logo, she was speechless. I watched her face intently for some clue to her thoughts. I sensed a hint of a smile as she finally mumbled: “It’s a nice looking beet.” I took that as affirmation of the “rightness” of the design.
Later, my wife made some comment about “that beet with a halo.” I immediately corrected her: “That’s not a beet with a halo. Those are Golden Saturnal Rings!”
I wonder what S.L. Allen’s wife thought of the name “Planet Jr.” and his planet Saturn logo?
Whatever the case, let me make it clear now and for future generations that there is no symbolism or hidden meanings in the Planet Whizbang logo. It is simply a whimsical variation of a unique old trademark. In the end, I can tell you that I settled on this new logo for the same reason I like old-time banjo music.....it makes me smile.
So that's the story. I hope you will enjoy owning and using Planet Whizbang pocket notebooks with their whimsical beet logo.
|Samuel Leeds Allen|