A wheel has been the symbol ofRotary since our earliest days. Thefirst design was made by ChicagoRotarian Montague Bear, anengraver who drew a simplewagon wheel, with a few lines toshow dust and motion. The wheelwas said to illustrate "Civilizationand Movement." Most of the earlyclubs had some form of wagonwheel on their publications andletterheads. Finally, in 1922, itwas decided that all Rotary clubsshould adopt a single design asthe exclusive emblem ofRotarians. Thus, in 1923, thepresent gear wheel, with 24 cogsand six spokes was adopted bythe "Rotary International Assoc-iation." A group of engineersadvised that the geared wheel wasmechanically unsound and wouldnot work without a "keyway" in thecenter of the gear to attach it to apower shaft. So, in 1923 thekeyway was added and the designwhich we now know was formallyadopted as the official RotaryInternational emblem.
MottosRotary's principal motto, "Service Above Self" and its other official precept, "He Profits Most Who Serves Best", evidence the enthusiam with which Rotarians embraced the ideal of service. The roots of both of these adages, adopted as official mottos at the 1950 RI Convention, can be traced back to the first decade of Rotary's existence, when "He profits most who serves his fellows best and Service not self were both put forth as slogans. In 1989, the RI Council on Legislation designated "Service above Self" as the principal motto.The Rotary emblemRotary's first emblem was a simple wagon wheel (in motion with dust) representing civilization and movement. Montague Bear, a member of the Chicago club, who was an engraver, designed it in 1905 and many Rotary clubs of the time adopted the wheel in one form or another.In 1922, authority was given to create and preserve an official emblem, and the following year the present gear wheel with 24 cogs and six spokes was adopted. A keyway was added to signify that the wheel was a "worker and not an idler." At the RI Convention in 1929, royal blue and gold were chosen as the official colors.