The Chase logo with it’s segmented blue octagon is a familiar part of our everyday lives. With so many Chase bank branches accross the United States, odds are you see this logo often in any given week. But did you know the octagon is meant to symbolize pipes? In this edition of Behind the Logo we look at the Chase logo.
Chase is the short form of JP Morgan Chase & Company. As a company, Chase has been around for a long time. It was formed as Chase National Bank in 1877 by John Thompson. It was named after former United States Treasury Secretary and Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, even though Chase had no connection with the company.
The Chase logo of today is often refered to as the blue octagon. The octagon itself is a key component in the Chase logo and has been around for over 50 years. It was designed in 1961 by Chermayeff & Geismar, a design firm which is still in business today. At the time the octagon design was one of the first abstract designs to be used by a company for it’s logo.
But what does the octagon symbolize? The octagon in the Chase logo is a stylized abstract representation of primitive log water pipes laid by the Manhattan Company in the early 1800’s, which were made by nailing together wooden logs and planks.Yes, that’s right, early pipes were actually made out of wood.
The Manhattan Company was formed to bring fresh water to New Yorkers. Or at least that was its stated purpose. What the founders really wanted to do was to open a bank. In the end they did both. The Bank of the Manhattan Company, founded in 1799, was a huge success. Today it is known as JP Morgan Chase. The company’s mission to deliver fresh water to New Yorkers was not as successful, however.
The plan was to build a waterworks on Reade Street near the pond and pump the water around the city through a network of log pipes. It was a big job. About 25 miles of pipe had to be laid. The streets were paved with heavy cobblestones, which had to be torn up. Then a deep trench was dug and the hollowed pine logs — each 13 feet long and 13 inches in diameter — were laid in the trench and pounded together. Sand and earth were placed back in the trench, and any leftover dirt was carted away.
Source: Chase Bank (edited for content)