ANY one who has walked through the thoroughfares of Boston and observed the numerous signs that decorate the doors and windows of the shops, or any one who has glanced at the advertisements that make up, by far, the largest part of the Boston papers, must have been struck with the popularity and the prevalence of the word "Harvard" as a trade-mark-and advertising sign. The amusing circumstance connected with this use of the word is the entire want of connection between the thing advertised and the college for which it is named.
Just opposite Boylston Hall there is a pendent sign that informs the star-gazing pedestrian that this is the Harvard Tea-Store; on Brighton Street a year or two ago a black painted board with gilt letters indicated the position of the Harvard Restaurant, and in numerous cigar-stores in the neighboring metropolis conspicuous placards offer to the smoking public the Harvard Cigarette. One of these institutions, the restaurant, deserved the name it bore, but the others have as little claim to the title as those uninteresting concerts that have been given in Boston in past winters under the name of the Harvard Symphony.
The manufacturers of furnishing goods seem inordinately fond of Harvard. There is the Harvard Shirt, so called probably because the maker was advised by his friends who inspected the article to "give it a name." There is a collar dubbed "Harvard," because no one in Harvard wears a collar that looks anything like it. The application of the term to a hat that was put on the market last spring was particularly unfortunate. It is true that a few '78 men were inveigled into buying the "tile" just before Class Day, but as a large running track, carefully surveyed and levelled, extended around the hat, it did not meet the popular taste here, and failed to be, as they say at the Gaiety, a gigantic success.
The Harvard Scarf is another example of the carelessness with which the term is employed. Every one knows that men at Harvard who have any regard for "form" never wear made-up scarfs; it is much more "English" to tie them yourself; so the fitness of the appellation is lost. To enumerate all the articles of merchandise which are shipped to "all parts of the Union" bearing the name of Harvard would tax the reader's patience. The Harvard Book-rack, the Harvard Ulster, and the Harvard Memorial Hall Cigarette will suggest other articles of use and consumption.
Taking these facts into consideration, we suggest that the Corporation and Fellows of Harvard College apply for a patent on the word "Harvard," to secure them its use and possession as a private sign, seal, or trade-mark. This would effectually stop the current use of the word in advertisements, though it might seriously interfere with certain organizations in college. The Harvard Advocate and the Harvard Lampoon would probably be obliged to give bonds that they would always represent the sentiments of the Corporation, but this they would willingly do for the sake of the prestige. The powers that be would thus control the transactions of the institutions that should bear the patent name. Both the wild debauches in the Art Club and the handicapping in the Athletic Association would be under the supervision of a committee on the patent rights of the word "Harvard."
Steps have already been taken in this direction, we understand, and, in anticipation of securing the patent, the authorities have just begun to recognize the official character of the Harvard Glee Club, and to control its movements as a representative body of the University.
While the application is under discussion, how-ever, at the Patent Office the hucksters and the haberdashers will shout their Harvard Lemonade and their Harvard Waistcoats; the Harvard Tea-Store will continue its sale of "choice groceries," and the Harvard Ulster still delight the readers of the papers, unmolested. When we get our patent then will come our triumph. Until then - patience.