I’ve always enjoyed reading — and writing — about company histories. Whether it’s a small one-person operation that has stayed that way for 55 years or grown into a multistate ductwork fabrication powerhouse, I find it fascinating.
Before cable TV’s History Channel morphed into a place for bearded duct-hunting reality TV stars, I used to enjoy watching the 30-minute or hourlong specials on how Ford made cars a must-have or the rise — and fall — of retailers such as Sears or Montgomery Ward.
Lately, I’ve even found myself sucked in to the short documentaries amateur filmmakers post on YouTube about semi-forgotten fast-food or mall store chains such as Burger Chef and Sam Goody.
Something that many of these companies, especially fast-food outlets, had in common was the use of a mascot for promotional efforts. McDonald’s doesn’t feature him much anymore, but for decades, Ronald McDonald was a mainstay on TV and inside every restaurant. Burger King’s “King” never had the same staying power, but he still pops up, most recently as a slightly creepy character with an oversized head.
When I was recently writing a story about Boyd Bennett, a former rockabilly singer who went on to start the HVAC duct sealants company Hardcast, I had a chance to look at some vintage ads the company used for its products. Finding company mascots strangely interesting, I enjoyed the advertisements that featured Mr. Hardcast. He doesn’t look anything like Boyd Bennett, but I could see his appeal as an advertising device.
So I was happy to find out at this year’s AHR Expo that company officials are bringing back Mr. Hardcast as part of a celebration of the company’s anniversary. They even brought a cutout to the company’s AHR booth. You can find out more in the video we shot at the show.
I bet there’s a lot of old ads for HVAC and sheet metal companies that feature mascots like Mr. Hardcast. If you remember some, post a comment.