Behind the Badge: The Mercury Logo Gives You Wings
Influences on the identity of Ford's upscale line.
Greek and Roman mythology has influenced our culture immeasurably. From the names we use in pop culture to the themes and phrases in our writing, the tales of old have remained with us for millennia. We see these archetypes appear even in the automotive industry. Take, for instance, the Mercury brand.
Ever wonder what influenced the formation of Mercury, including its name and logo?
History of the Mercury Brand
Henry Ford never cared for vehicle styling, preferring straightforward functionality in his company’s automobile line. It eventually became apparent to the company that to remain competitive in the ever-evolving automotive market, attention had to be made to the design appeal of auto models. Thus, Henry’s son Edsel founded the Mercury Division in 1938 to appeal to working professionals whose salaries fit somewhere between practical Fords and upscale Lincolns. The mid-level brand relied on a heavy amount of chrome and interior luxury to stand out.
After Edsel’s death in 1943, father Henry Ford merged Mercury with Lincoln into a conglomerate Division focused on premium models. Mercury became most successful in the 1950s for stretching and lowering Ford’s platforms into rebadged versions. In the 1950s Ford briefly introduced a sister line, named Edsel, which was intended to compete with Oldsmobile but lasted only two years after immediately tanking.
Despite producing some good muscle cars and minivans over the years, Mercury vehicle sales declined heavily by the 21st century, compelling Ford to pull the plug in 2010.
On a Wing and a Prayer
Mercury’s name comes from the Roman god known for his speed and winged sandals/hat. Known as Hermes in Greek mythology, Mercury was also the name for a planet and an element. This was a fitting choice for an automobile brand as the character was the swift messenger of the gods whose main function was commerce and transit. Edsel’s use of the name Mercury was probably due to the success of the Lincoln Zephyr–named after the god of wind–a few years earlier.
Enjoy learning about the Mercury logo? Check out the rest of our “Behind the Badge” series!
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.