Obit of the Day: He Got Us to “Like Ike”
In 1948, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower was sitting in retirement after successfully leading the U.S. military to victory in Europe during World War II, there was already a stirring for him to become president. One enterprising reporter from Pittsburgh went to A.G. Trimble and his son, Richard, to create a campaign button as a way to encourage Eisenhower to run. The reporter was frustrated, telling the Trimbles, “I can’t come up with a slogan, but I do like Ike*.”
A.G. Trimble, who had made campaign buttons beginning in 1920, told the young man, “That’s your slogan.” Richard Trimble set to work to design the now iconic “I Like Ike” button that would first be produced in 1948 and then take off in 1952 when Ohio Senator Bob Taft recruited General Eisenhower to run for the Republican nomination in 1952. (Eisenhower would win in 1952 and again in 1956)
Richard Trimble wasn’t supposed to be in the family business. He was trained as a chemical engineer at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) but was severely poisoned in 1944 while working on a project for the war. After taking a year to recover he found himself working at the side of his father and would spend his career at A.G. Trimble Company.
On November 28, 2012, two days after his 91st birthday, Richard Trimble passed away. He ran the company from 1972 until he handed over the reigns to his son, current president Rick Trimble, in 1988.
Random note: A.G. Trimble, the company’s founder, who died at the age of 102 in 1983, was born on election day 1880. Because of that, his father wanted to name him Garfield Arthur Trimble for the winning Republican ticket of James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. His mother interceded and decided Arthur Garfield was better. A.G. Trimble was such a staunch supporter of the G.O.P. that he refused to manufacture campaign buttons for Democrats until Richard convinced him to make a Truman button in 1948.
(Images: Top left, www.loriferber.com; bottom left, www.conservapedia.com; bottom right, www.affordablepoliticalitems.com. I could not determine which button was the original created by the Trimbles.)
* “Ike” was a nickname that evolved from Eisenhower.