Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ready Kilowatt

I don't know why this image from my youth just popped into my head but I just remembered a character called Ready Kilowatt which was used by power companies to promote the use of electricity in the home. Ready had a stick-figure body made of lightning bolts and a light bulb for a head. I can clearly see him in my mind's eye gracing the Edison Sault Electric Company office in the town where I grew up. Ready was always so...peppy. He just exuded energy (but what else would you expect from a lightning bolt?).

According to Wikipedia, the Ready character was created in 1926 by the Alabama Power Company and then licensed to over 300 other power companies for use in promoting electricity usage in the home. Ready was bought by Northern States Power Company in 1998 but the promotion of electricity usage has fallen out of favor. With today's emphasis on conservation, having Ready telling us to use more of the juice seems rather old fashioned. I guess that NSP (now Xcel Energy) created an analog of Ready to promote gas usage but I don't remember seeing it (and we were NSP customers for years).

The icons of our culture change with the technology and the times. Ready Kilowatt would probably be indicted today in the court of world opinion for adding to the greenhouse gases driving climate change. Now we see reminders to save rather than consume. While I agree with the more environmentally sensitive era we are now in, I still kinda miss old Ready. But I also miss Howdy Doody and Sky King.

[Image of Ready Kilowatt from Wikipedia]


Anonymous said...

Ready Kilowatt is adorable. I have a pair of screw on earrings which feature Ready.
Some of the old ways were the best way.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this since I found a Ready-K tie clip. Oh, in MN I think the natural gas counterpart was an Native American/Indian maiden named Minnegasco (Minnesota Gas Company?). The feather in her headdress was a multi-toned blue gas flame . . . .

Anonymous said...

I also remember as a little girl in Salisbury, NC the Duke Power office which was were we paid our power bill had a Ready Kilowatt on the side of the building. We used to call him MR. Kilowatt and if you look real close the outline of the original one is still on the side of the building. Since I am now 51 it seems like that was a LONG time ago but yet I can still remember it like it was yesterday. The highlight of our visits to town was to see Mr. Kilowatt, especially at night when he was light up. What happend to the good ole days???

Anonymous said...

Who doesn't love Ready Kilowatt? My Father worked for a Midwest utility for years, and we've got quite a collection of Ready sprinkled throughout the family. Bring me the juice baby!

Anonymous said...

Where can I purchase a Ready Kilowatt figure? My Dad worked for the local power company and I too grew up "around" Ready Kilowatt.