A Simple Motto

“From the very beginning I felt that I had struck my life work, and would not allow myself to entertain a thought of any other occupation. Then I kept in mind the [simple] motto, ‘What is worth doing, is worth doing well.’”
—Henry Sherwin, on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary, 1916

Campaigning with Color Chips

The popular Sherwin-Williams Color Chips campaign launched in 2010, with a series of animated television ads that transported audiences into worlds constructed entirely out of color chips. “Make the most of your color with the very best paint,” the ads urged.

Jornt Truck

Few Sherwin-Williams vehicles have attracted as much attention as this one, custom-made in 1931 by Frank Jornt for his brother, William Jornt. As owners of the Jornt Brothers Hardware Store in Kenosha, Wisconsin, William and Frank covered the earth in style.

DIY Automobile Finishes

Ever considered repainting your own car? So did our ancestors, apparently. Back in the 1920s, Sherwin-Williams offered a set of auto enamels and a complete how-to guide for automobile owners. As the booklet cautioned, however: “It should be remembered that in refinishing a car, as in everything else, the beauty of the finish and the success of the job will be commensurate with the amount of care taken in preparation and finishing.” Good luck!

Chess Game

Fancy your chances against a chess master? To attract visitors at the annual Homebuilders’ Show in Dallas in 1976, Sherwin-Williams arranged for chess master John Jacobs to sit at a chessboard with pieces covered in Sherwin-Williams paint. Crowds gathered as Jacobs challenged brave volunteers in five-minute matches. Checkmate!

The Original Dutch Boy

Did you know that the Dutch Boy is really an Irish boy? In 1906, while playing ball in his yard,

7-year-old Michael Edwin Brady was spotted by painter Carmichael Earl and asked to sit for the famous portrait. Brady did no other modelling, but later in life he became an artist, working as a cartoonist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Overcoming Adversity

When the Sherwin-Williams offices and warehouse in San Francisco were destroyed in the earthquake of April 1906, the company bounced back immediately. A sign was placed in the rubble: “The Sherwin-Williams Co. will occupy these premises about June 1st, 1906. Several car loads of products now being rushed from our factories. Yours for Greater San Francisco, The Sherwin-Williams Co.”

Salesman on a Sled

Our trailblazing sales representatives were made of tough stuff. Here’s a photograph from 1922, showing Mr. Humfrey of Alaska on his way to see a dealer. The temperature outside? A chilly 40 degrees below zero.

Secret Footsteps

This unusual photograph was captured at Cornell University in 1948. Legend has it that statues of the university’s founders come to life and walk around the campus, leaving footsteps in their wake. No one is supposed to know how the footsteps appear — hence the young man’s surprise at being discovered with a can of Sherwin-Williams paint.

South of the Equator

Did you know that the first batch of SWP made south of the equator was produced at the Sherwin-Williams plant in Sydney, Australia, in September 1918?

Mexican Operation

In 1947, our subsidiary in Mexico was the only one in Latin America to own and operate branch stores. Here is a photograph of our delivery trucks outside of the plant in Mexico City.

Stamps and Dollar Bills

In the 1920s and 1930s, Americans had Sherwin-Williams inks in their pockets and on their envelopes. Following a blind test, the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing selected Sherwin-Williams Chrome Green and Red Lake No. 1 and No. 6 to cover the 2-cent postage stamp and the backs of $1 and $5 bills. Here is a photograph of the postage stamp vault stocked with more than a billion stamps.

First Overseas Representative

The first Sherwin-Williams representative sent abroad was Fred C. Donnison, who departed in 1901 for Australia and the Philippines, where he secured one of the largest orders the company had ever received. Before long, many government buildings in the Philippines were finished with Sherwin-Williams products. In this photograph taken in the Philippines in 1917, Donnison appears second from the left.

Time for School

In 1939, a national conference convened to draw up a long list of standards for school bus construction. Sherwin-Williams color consultant Harry H. Scheid attended the conference and played a key role in the selection of the color yellow for the buses. The color that was chosen, named National School Bus Chrome, was deemed the color that is easiest to see in the limited light of early morning and late afternoon.