A wheel has been the symbol of Rotary since our earliest days. The first design was made by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear, an engraver who drew a simple wagon wheel, with a few lines to show dust and motion. The wheel was said to illustrate "Civilization and Movement." Most of the early Clubs had some form of wagon wheel on their publications and letterheads. Finally, in 1922, it was decided that all Rotary Clubs should adopt a single design as the exclusive emblem of Rotarians. Thus, in 1923, the present gear wheel, with 24 cogs and six spokes was adopted by the "Rotary International Association." A group of engineers advised that the geared wheel was mechanically unsound and would not work without a "keyway" in the center of the gear to attach it to a power shaft, the keyway was to signify that the wheel was a "worker and not an idler." So, in 1923, the keyway was added and the design which we now know was formally adopted as the official Rotary International emblem. 
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The foundation, the strength, the goodness of Rotary is the individual Rotarian. He is the key to Rotary's growth and service. In the construction of a bridge or arch, the keystone... the most important element... holds the forces of the structure together...

In the wheel of the Rotary emblem, the key makes the wheel a functioning unity when it is driven into the keyway, the little niche in the hub of our symbolic wheel. The individual Rotarian is like the keyway and the key. He gives power and makes momentum possible. He is the key to open the doors to membership and service. The key turns the lock that opens the doors to Rotary... 
                                                      You are the Key

Edward F. Cadman
R. I. President 1985-86
His words and wisdom:
Without YOU Rotary is just an "idler", it just spins and nothing is accomplished.
With YOU, the key, Rotary can function correctly and can change our communities and the world.



Contributed By: Tom Gullick, Portage Rotary Member