Powell River Company Trademark
Object ID: 2004.75.5366
The Powell River Company Newsprint trademark first came into use in 1925 when the need for an 'outstanding label' was recognized by Company officials. Between 1925 and 1953 the red and black triangle, with the totem pole inside and the word TESHQUOIT, was used to identify Powell River Company products around the world.
The first official explanation for this trademarked design was given in the December 1925 issue of the Powell River Digester. A more detailed discussion of the significance of the design was again given in the December 1936 issue of the Digester. And in the March-April 1953 issue the company wrote a final history of the Powell River Trade Mark.
Firstly, the triangular shape of the trademark design has its own long history going back to the late 19th century when the Brooks-Scanlon interests were operating in northern Minnesota. In those days the rivers and streams served as the principal means for moving logs from the woods to the mills. Nearly all the lumber companies 'rafted' their logs, and it was not an infrequent occurrence for these rafts to break apart. With many companies using the same streams, it became necessary to mark the logs to identify ownership if logs were lost or became mixed up. It was at this time that Brooks-Scanlon adopted the mark of the triangle to identify the company's logs.
The first rough brand was made by six blows of an axe which formed three chipped-out places on the side of the log near one end, forming a crude triangle.
This original Brooks-Scanlon log brand lent itself to the development of a new trademark once Brooks-Scanlon made their way to Powell River and began the Powell River Company. "The triangle was adopted as the basic design for Powell River, and was adorned with 'Indian Totem Poles,' over which the word 'Teshquoit,' the original Indian name for Powell River was placed" (Digester December 1936, Vol. 12/No. 1, page 3).
It was John McIntyre, resident architect employed by the Powell River Company and designer of the majority of the town’s early public buildings and residences, and then Townsite Superintendent who took these elements to develop the original Powell River Company Trademark.
This consisted of a double triangle with red arrowheads at the tips of the outside triangle. The totem pole was conceived as representation of British Columbia and particularly of the West Coast, noted for its Indian settlements.
As to the meaning of the word TESHQUOIT, the records of the Powell River Company indicates that this word was a free translation made by John McIntyre during a meeting with Chief Timothy of Tla'amin. According to the Digester this was the Chinook term used by the 'Indians' before the coming of the Powell River Company. Today we know that this free translation by McIntyre is a variation of the ʔayʔaǰuθəm word tiskʷat (Teeskwat), meaning big river, which was the Tla'amin word and original name for Powell River.
There were initial complications in getting this new trademark patented, as another company had two years previously patented a trademark with a similar triangular design. By eliminating the red arrowheads, and with the totem pole as a theme, the design was accepted and patent rights were granted in September 1925.
A section of the original application for patent registration reads as follows:
WE POWELL RIVER COMPANY LIMITED, of 510 Hasting Street West, in the City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, Dominion of Canada, Paper Manufacturers, hereby request you to register in the name of POWELL RIVER COMPANY LIMITED, a specific trade mark to be used in connection with the sale of paper, which specific trade mark we verily believe is ours on account of our having been the first to make use thereof. With the said words "Powell" "River" and "Newsprint" is a second equilateral triangle having a black and white diced border within which there appears the representation of an upright totem pole stretching from the centre of the base of the said inner equilateral triangle to approximately the apex thereof, while the word "TESHQUOIT" in block letters traverses the centre of the said equilateral triangle horizontally. A drawing of the said specific trade mark is hereunto annexed.
Digester March/April 1953 Vol. 29/No. 2, page 5