Sunday, October 16, 2011

#77: Union 77

Smithfield, Dublin

The iconography of this may not resonate in the same way with my Dublin friends, but to my American eye, this 77 immediately stood out. With its bright red-orange circle and cobalt numbers, it's a dead ringer for the Union 76 logo. Where I grew up, this giant orange orb at gas stations was as unmistakable an image as fast food's golden arches, a familiar and well-loved sight on road trips. (The best of them actually lit up and rotated.)

This was real ooh-ahh 1962 World's Fair technology, state-of-the-art stuff back then, and why anyone in the year 2011 still gets excited about a giant rotating orange ball is a little puzzling. But apparently I'm not alone. There's enough of a cult following that a "Save the 76 Ball" campaign made sure that ConocoPhillips (as they are now re-branded) donated a couple to museums. They even put up a few new rotating balls to wow the oh-so-jaded public -- who, frankly, are probably more concerned with paying 4 dollars a gallon for gas than they are about "saving" some dinky old orange sign.

I like this one quite a bit. It's like if the Union 76 logo ate a Pac Man, went to Smithfield, and found a nice, industrial gray wall to settle down with. I wish it luck in its future endeavors. Should anyone ever want to tear it down, they'll face some stiff opposition from the "Save the 77 Ball" campaign. While I probably won't get the Irish Georgian Society behind me, I can probably pull a couple strings at An Taisce. Those folks will object to anything.


Radge said...

On the subject of Smithfield, that place creeps the fuck out of me. I was there only last night with herself - the place just smells like recession.

That is all. 7.17am of a Sunday and I'm in work. Where did it go so very wrong?

Therese Cox said...

I detect a smash hit: "Smells Like Dead Celtic Tiger." Vacant squares, whiskey distillery, kids from juvie (y'all don't call it juvie though, do you?) hanging out with their solicitors. Entertain us!

On a happier note, I hope your move went/is going well. Will be checking in eagerly for updates.

Radge said...

Thanks! It's happening at the end of the month. Must start packing. And get blogging.