The Morton Umbrella Girl - my how she's changed . . .
The Morton Umbrella Girl has been an enduring icon since she first appeared on our table salt packaging in 1914. The idea for the little girl and her slogan, ''When it Rains, it Pours,'' was the result of Morton's first advertising campaign in 1911. The agency selected was charged with creating a series of ads to run in Good Housekeeping magazine. One of the concepts presented to Morton was an image of a little girl holding an umbrella in one hand to ward off falling rain and in the other hand, a package of salt that was tilted back with the spout open and salt running out. Morton loved the picture that expressed the Morton message, the message that salt would run in damp weather. But they felt the copy that went with it ''Even in rainy weather, it flows freely'' was too long. They felt it needed to be shorter and snappier. More suggestions included ''Flows Freely,'' ''Runs Freely,'' ''Pours'' and finally, an old proverb, ''It never rains, but it pours.'' The adage was vetoed as being too negative, and a more positive spin on it resulted in the now famous slogan, ''When it Rains It Pours.'' The ageless lassie has continued to change with the times and has had several makeovers to modernize her looks. Updates began in 1921 and continued in 1933, 1941, 1956 and 1968. My how the little girl has changed.
In 1848, Morton Salt had its beginning in Chicago as a small, Midwestern sales agency. It started to grow as the population headed west, and kept growing long after the West was settled. Today the business, still headquartered in Chicago, is North America's leading producer and marketer of salt for home, water conditioning, industrial, agricultural and highway use. The firm was incorporated as the Morton Salt Company in 1910. By then it was both a manufacturer and a merchant of salt. Among its products was a free running salt in a round package with a patented spout, and various bulk salt grades for farm and industry.
The company developed a salt that would be free running even in damp weather. In 1911, a little girl with an umbrella and her now famous slogan, ''When It Rains It Pours'', were created to promote this new product in a national consumer advertising campaign. The Morton Umbrella Girl and slogan first appeared on the blue package of table salt in 1914. Throughout the years the ageless girl has changed dresses and hairstyles to stay fashionable. She was updated in 1921, 1933, 1941, 1956 and 1968. Together they have symbolized the growth and progress of the company through the years.
Plant acquisitions and expansion of sales facilities began in 1890 and have continued to this day. Concurrent with this growth has been the development of more sophisticated product lines and various grades of salt for diverse purposes. From the simple salt block for livestock feeding (first marketed in 1918) came blocks with special additives, such as calcium, sulfur, phosphorus and trace minerals (iron, cobalt, copper, iodine, zinc and manganese) to promote faster growth and healthier animals. Later, feed mixing salt products, including various combinations of minerals and vitamins and several medicaments, were developed.
In 1924, Morton became the first company to produce iodized salt for the table to help prevent goiters, recognized as a wide spread health problem in the U.S. at that time.
In the 1950s, the boom in building superhighways and the increase in traffic brought about increased demands for rock salt for ice control, and in 1959 Morton developed what was, at the time, the world's deepest and most modern salt mine in Fairport, Ohio, used primarily for ice control purposes.
In 1951 Morton introduced Morton ¬ Pellets, a high-quality salt product for the recharging of home water softeners. In 1958, a separate water conditioning product group was established, introducing for the first time a fully branded product line for water softener dealers as well as for homeowners. In 1970, keeping with American diet and health trends, Morton introduced Morton ¬ Salt Substitute , followed three years later by Morton Lite Salt ¬ Mixture a salt and potassium chloride mixture. During the 1970's, the product line was also expanded to fulfill special consumer needs with salt and pepper shakers, Morton ¬ Seasoned Salt Substitute and Morton ¬ Nature's Seasons ¬ Seasoning Blend a balanced blend of popular seasonings.
In the mid 1980s, Morton ¬ Seasoned Salt and Morton ¬ Garlic Salt were added to the specialty products line. In 1984 Morton's System Saver ¬ formula pellets, which today is the number one selling water softening product, were introduced to the national market. The patented System Saver ¬ formula helps improve tank cleanliness by preventing water-deposit buildup. In addition to being the first salt company to become national in scope, the firm now has affiliates in Canada, the Bahamas and South America.
Due to technological advances, salt became a basic material in many chemical processes, and special salt grades were developed for food processing, and used in the manufacture of gasoline, pharmaceuticals, plastics, paints, dyes, tires, detergents, insecticides and many other items. As growth was taking place in salt, Morton also was becoming involved in various phases of the chemical processing industry as a major supplier of basic inorganic chemicals derived from salt. This led to the formation of a separate chemical division that now produces organic chemicals, polymers, and chemical formulations used in industry and agriculture. In 1999 Morton was acquired by Philadelphia based Rohm and Haas Company, Inc. and operates as a division of that company today.