Remember this guy?.
Here’s the history of Reddy Kilowatt:
Reddy Kilowatt is drawn as a stick figure whose body and limbs are made of lightning bolt symbols and whose bulbous head has a light bulb for a nose and sockets for ears. Reddy was created at the Alabama Power Company by Ashton B. Collins, Sr., and debuted March 11, 1926. He was subsequently licensed by some 300 electrical companies in the U.S. and abroad looking to sell homes on using the relatively new technology. He was featured in a 1947 comic book and movie produced by the studio of Walter Lantz. Reddy Kilowatt was a frequent presence in publicity material until energy conservation replaced energy production as a national goal with the growth of the environmental movement and the OPEC oil embargo. He is now rarely seen. In 1998, Reddy was bought by Northern States Power Company, which created an entire subsidiary, Reddy Kilowatt Corp., to manage the cartoon. That company later created Reddy Flame, a character promoting natural gas.
While Reddy Kilowatt was created as a mascot for investor-owned utilities, a similar character – Willie Wiredhand – was created about the same time for use by rural electric cooperatives and public utility districts (evidently, much to Collins’ annoyance). Willie was also a stick figure, but with a lamp socket for a head, an electric plug for legs and feet, and wore gloves similar to those worn by farmers.
We can sure remember the PGE advertising using Reddy Kilowatt, can you?. It’s kind of fun to look back and see how things have changed, from promoting the use of electricity, with the focus now on conservation!
Take a look below at some more fun Reddy and Willie images.