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Fisk Tire Boy

Fisk Tire Boy Restored StatueThe little Fisk Tire Boy was created in 1907 by an artist working for the advertising agency retained by Fisk Rubber Corporation.  The artist, Burr E. Giffen, was only eighteen years old.  He drew a sketch of a little boy wearing one-piece sleeper pajamas, and yawning very wide.  In one hand he held a candle, and the other hand was wrapped around a Fisk tire.  To go along with the sleepy little boy, Fisk created the slogan, “Time to Re-Tire.”  The slogan and the drawing were copyrighted in 1910, and registered as a trademark in 1914.

The Fisk boy drawing and the slogan appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1914.  Since then, many artists have done paintings of the Fisk Tire boy for advertisements in magazines and newspapers.  The first was an oil painting done by Edward M. Eggleston.  The most famous series of advertising paintings was done by Norman Rockwell, commissioned in 1917.

Part of the series done by Norman Rockwell focused on Fisk Bicycle Tires.  These paintings were featured in American Boy from 1917 to 1919.  The paintings were very popular, and helped increase the popularity of the Fisk Bicycle Club.  In these paintings, the focus is on the Fisk slogan and the little Fisk Tire boy, appearing in the painting on an advertising sign or bicycle flag.  Mr. Rockwell was also asked to do a second series of paintings in 1924 to appear in The Saturday Evening Post as well as other popular magazines.  Many of these paintings still hang in the Uniroyal Plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the former Fisk Tire plant.

With all of this advertising, the little Fisk Tire boy and his slogan were trademarked, and registered in over 90 countries.  By 1928, the Fisk Tire Boy was one of the most recognized trademarks in the U.S.  The Fisk Rubber Company even called the Fisk boy “America’s Favorite Son” in press releases.

In 1930, the Fisk boy was given a smile instead of a yawn.  Another artist was commissioned to update the original painting done by Eggleston.  In 1934, the smile was changed back to a yawn, and the original painting was retouched again.  All of these changes obscured the original artwork, and in 1941 Fisk asked the Metropolitan Museum to restore the painting to its original glory.

The Fisk Tire boy is a favorite among American nostalgic advertising, and his image will always be a part of advertising history.  Besides all of the print advertisements, there have been statues, figures, and different kinds of memorabilia created in the form of the Fisk Tire Boy.

Last updated: October 8, 2012
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  • Grant Heggie

    In 1946 the Fisk Tire Company sponsored a quiz program on WSPR in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was selected to portray the Fisk Tire Boy and began each program by walking down the central aisle of the ball room of the old Hotel Kimball with a tire and candle, marching up on stage and reciting ” I am the Fisk Boy, I’m so tired it’s time to retire”. I was six at the time and it was my first paying job.

  • http://johnny_m_holt@comcast.net Johnny Holt

    I have an opportunity to purchase one of the five foot statues. It needs to be completely restored. The tire is missing. What would be a good price to buy this and what would be an approximate value restored? Thanks for anyone’s help.

  • Diane Jones

    I bought this doll at a swap meet for $4.00.  He has the tire but not the candle.  Difficult to read whats on the back of the neck  Looks like Frankln Heirloom and the #95.  Does anyone know more about this

  • Madhattermuffler

    i have a full size fisk statue id like to sell  i can email pics

  • Gregg_olson_30

    i have a fisk tire boy night light,its rubber,has jonny tex co 1964 on the back of it and the original light inside the piece still lights up. never seen one for sale… any value?

  • Marioelement

    ill give you $300 

  • Marioelement

    ill buy it from you, ill give you $50