Waukesha High School
Class of 1955

Our High School is now the
"Les Paul Middle School".


Creation of the Smiley Face

Harvey Ross Ball (July 10, 1921 - April 12, 2001) was an American commercial artist. He is recognized as the earliest known designer of the smiley, which became an enduring and notable international icon. Ball was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. During his time as a student at Worcester South High School, he became an apprentice to a local sign painter, and later attended the Worcester Art Museum School, where he studied fine arts.

After World War II, Ball worked for a local advertising firm until he started his own business, Harvey Ball Advertising, in 1959. He designed the smiley in 1963. The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts (now known as Hanover Insurance) had purchased Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio. The merger resulted in low employee morale. In an attempt to solve this, Ball was employed in 1963 as a freelance artist, to come up with an image to increase morale. What he created was a smiley face, with one eye bigger than the other. In less than ten minutes, Harvey Ball came up with the simple yet world-changing smiley face. The simplicity of the image brought smiles to the faces of the executives, who paid him $45 for his creation.

The use of the smiley face became part of the company's friendship campaign whereby State Mutual handed out 100 smiley pins to employees. The aim was to get employees to smile while using the phone and doing other tasks. The buttons became popular, with orders being taken in lots of 10,000. More than 50 million smiley face buttons had been sold by 1971, and the smiley has been described as an international icon. Ball never applied for a trademark or copyright of the smiley and earned just $45 for his work (US $315 in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars). State Mutual, similarly, did not make any money from the design. Ball's son, Charles, is reported to have said his father never regretted not registering the copyright. Telegram & Gazette reported Charles Ball as saying "he was not a money-driven guy, he used to say, 'Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.'"


Authorized Smiley Face


November, 2017

November is upon us and now comes Thanksgiving and thoughts of Christmas. This has been a fast year and I hope all has been well.

There is a new problem this month - check it out by clicking "Problem."

Please note in "Announcements" we are having a Class Reunion in September, 2018. It may seem early but time goes by REALLY fast these days. If you have a 2018 calendar - mark it.

I have added a new Topic in the top bar, "Current Status." The idea is to send me what you are/will be doing right now. You might be heading to Waukesha and that would be a good time to catch up with Classmates who live in the area. Maybe you are going on a trip and want to see if someone might be interested in going with you. Let's give this a shot. Thanks to Bob McClintock for the idea.

Check the birthdays. If you aren't there and should be, tell me.

Swirling autumn leaves of orange, red and gold, November has a beauty that's easy to behold.

Send info to George

2017 Waukesha High School Class of 1955