January 1901, No. 35 The Railway and Shipping World (Toronto) Page 19, col. 1

The heraldry of railways.

Under the above heading the Montréal Star recently published an article on the trademarks of railways, in which it is said:—The managements of Canadian railways do not appear to have the same love of romance & heraldry as the management of lines in the U.S. In the latter country there are dozens of lines which are familiarly known by sobriquets, & others which adopt as their trade-mark or device some special symbol. These emblems, or symbols, usually emphasize some special characteristic of the territory through which the railway passes, some peculiarity in the road itself, or a nickname given to it by its own or the employes of some other lines.

The devices are often very cleverly & aptly selected, & become to the railway company very much what the trade-mark is to the merchant. They appear upon all the folders, are used in all advertising matter, & often appear on the locomotives & cars of the company. In this way they become familiar to the travelling public, & in time become the sign by which the railway is popularly known to other railways & the public generally.

It is rather a strange thing that among Canadian railways the devices chosen are of the most matter-of-fact kind. Some of them are striking & make good enough advertisements, but there is an utter absence of the heraldic spirit which characterizes the emblems of so many of the large railway systems on the other side of the line. There is not a vestige of romance, or even an attempt at the representation of heraldic mysticism, in the devices of the large Canadian railways.

The familiar trade-mark of the C.P.R. consists of a heart-shaped shield, surmounted by a beaver couchant, the beaver being, perhaps, the most distinctive of the fur-bearing animals of the Dominion. With the maple leafs, it divides the honor of being the national emblem. The trade-mark was designed by a prominent official of the Co. in the early days of its history, some time in the eighties, & was immediately adopted by the passenger department of the road, as a suitable emblem. Ever since the characteristic shield has appeared on the numerous pamphlets, maps, folders & other advertising matter issued by the Co., & is now readily recognized as the sign-manual of the C.P.R. in 1890 the design was copyrighted, & has since been used exclusively by the Co. on its railway & steamship literature.

The moosehead was adopted as the heraldic device of the Intercolonial Ry. in 1883, & in 1897 the Dominion arms were made a companion device, as indicating the government ownership of the railway. Both of these devices appears on the folders, but the moosehead surrounded by a circle is the recognized trade-mark, to be used either with or without the arms. An official of the Passenger Department has furnished the following:—"The moosehead is used by the I.C.R. as representative of the largest & finest of the game animals in Canada, & one which is of itself intercolonial in being common to Québec, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia. No railway in America passes for so long a distance through a country which is recognized everywhere as the home of the moose. Apart from this geographical application, the moose is held by the I.C.R. as representing the Government line in its position as a leader among railways as the moose in king of the forests. In the size, symmetry of form, strength, endurance & speed of the moose, are found the points of excellence for which the I.C.R. seeks to commend itself to the public. The I.C.R. has the motto of 'Safety, Speed & Comfort,' the relation of which to the trade-mark is as follows: The moose, through its size, strength & courage, is able to hold its own against all rivals in its domain. It has a speed which distances its opponents, & its coat, proof against storm & cold, gives comfort at all seasons. Thus, these qualities typical of the moose, are kept in view by the railway in its construction & maintenance, & with especial reference to the transportation of passengers over its lines."

The device of the G.T.R. is, perhaps, the most prosaic of the larger railway corporations in the Dominion. It has, however, been the device of that Co. sufficiently long to make it well known to the travelling public. The G.T.R. has the distinction of being one of the oldest railway lines in the country as well as one of the largest & most important. The Montréal Star states that the present device has been used since the earliest days of the Co.'s organization. This, however, is not correct, as it was not adopted until the change in management in 1896, when the title Grand Trunk Railway was changed to Grand Trunk Railway System. Prior to that the device used was a circular one containing the words "Grand Trunk Railway Great International Route."

The Canada Atlantic has for a considerable time used a shield bearing the words "Canada Atlantic Railway," plain but striking, but latterly a good deal of its literature has on it another shield, bearing the words, "The Algonquin Park Route," which is especially used to attract attention to sportsman's territory traversed by the western portion of the line.

The Québec & Lake St. John Ry. uses the device here reproduced on its winter time tables, but on its summer time tables, booklets & hangers, the prominent feature is a ouananiche, or fresh water salmon, for which the Lake St. John region is famous.

The Northern Pacific's trade-mark is unique. In the 11th century there was a Chinaman who was named Chow Lien Chi. One day in his rambling he found a case that had an entrance on each side. Both were crescent shaped, with the sides facing each other. The cave itself was as round as a moon inside. Out of these opposed crescents & the moon-shaped cave he evolved a diagram that has become noted among the Chinese. It is now used also as a symbol for something else. From the mysteries of an ancient Chinese philosophy it has been dragged forth to illustrate the modern American system of transportation, & now does duty as the trade-mark of the N.P.R. The design is a circle, the centre composed of two eel-shaped crescents, one above the other. The upper crescent is either red or white, the lower one black. In China the figure is known as a nomad, & in the original there are used a certain mystic characters grouped around the crescents. The latter are known as "Yang" & "Yin," the male and female principles of life. In the new they stand for "Motion & Rest," & "Force & Matter." This design is used on the Co.'s cars, printed matter, & on the windows of its ticket offices.

The Wabash shows a banner of red, with a black centre on which is imposed the single word "Wabash." In 1884 the road copyrighted a trade-mark that showed the forward part of a locomotive with the word "Wabash" illuminated by the rays of the headlight, & which was enclosed in an oblong square. This continued to be used until 1886, when it was changed into the form of a flag or banner, & from that time until now the Wabash R.R. has been known as the "Banner Route." It was afterward thought that the engine took up too much room on the banner & not enough space was given the word "Wabash," &, in order to make that word as conspicuous as possible, in 1894 the headlight was dispensed with, & the whole space on the banner was given to the word "Wabash."

Railways: C.A.Ry., C.P.Ry., G.T.Ry., N.P.Rd, Q. & L.St.J.Ry., Wab.Rd.