I’m pretty good with dating what I’ll just go ahead and call generational aesthetics. Graphic design, commercials, hairdos… heck, even just nature photos. Like, I can date photo of a waterfall based on the visual texture of the film and stuff alone. That’s the 90s… ah, probably early 80s… oh, definitely mid 70s.
But, apparently, I ain’t perfect. Case in point: The Eagle Through The A (ETTA).
Judging by the design, and the prominent use in the 70s, I’d always placed its birth early in the disco decade. (And I’m not the only one.)
Then I talked to Fritz. Yes, that Fritz — Fritz Siler, who one night in 1966, with a bass drum, some butcher paper, and some beer, gave birth to the iconic, seemingly inviolate (not-so) interlocking AU logo. And hey, speaking of beer…
Fritz: You know that eagle through the A? I know who did that, too. That was done about the same time as the AU.
Me: Really? I thought that more of a late 70s thing or something?
Fritz: Well, what happened is, Anders Bookstore came (to Auburn). And one of my [Lambda Chi Alpha] fraternity brothers… and another one of the fraternity brothers who were wise for their age… liked that eagle on the Anheuser-Busch…
Me: … oh man, keep going… keep going…
Fritz: … so ,what they did when they were enjoying what the eagle produced from Anheuser-Busch… is that they put that eagle with the A in their back windshield. And so Anders picked up on that; I think one of them may have been working at Anders. Anyway, Anders picked up on that, and they got a trademark on it. But he and his buddy came up with the Anheuser-Busch eagle flying through the A. Crazy things were going on and we didn’t give it a second thought.
Now, even with so great a witness as Fritz Siler, I still just instinctively assumed that the ETTA hadn’t reached, say, sticker-on-an-airplane level until the 1970s.
Then I saw Nelda. Yes, that Nelda — Nelda Lee, Auburn aerospace engineering legend… I interviewed her here, you should check it out… posing presumably by the plane she flew while earning her private pilot’s license before graduating in 1969.
I promise to do better.
Rosemary Anders says
The first employee that ran our
art department came up with, this design. The other part of your story I’m not familiar with but don’t doubt it. As far as we were concerned it was our A and the eagle! It’s still one of my favorites of which we are very proud of. This was in the late 60’s I believe😊
Thanks for the memories-