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Mercury in Fact and Fiction

The Mercury Image

Beyond the Mercury Automobile many companies have adopted the Mercury name. The most recognized name in outboard motors is Mercury Marine. Carl Kiekhaefer founded the company in 1936 making reliable engines and boats, getting people from one place to another. Indeed, this concept of transporting people and information is one of the major factors that has so attracted people to the Mercury image.

There are any number of newspapers that have "Mercury" in their title. The idea of the messenger god delivering the news comes into play. Mercury is the name of an advanced technology company that does "BTO" (Business Technology Optimization). They consider themselves a leader in the IT (Information Technology) industry. Mercury is also the name of an e-"mail transport system".

The Mercury Theater founded by Orson Wells and John Houseman produced plays, radio shows and even such famous movies as "Citizen Kane". There is a Mercury Insurance Company for auto insurance doing business in 13 states. Mercury Records is one of the most famous recording labels in the history of music, covering everything from "Boogie Woogie" to Country.

The list might go on and on. What began with a mythical Roman god would come to flourish in Western culture and, ultimately, build upon itself. Mercury was, indeed, a diverse god. Beyond being simply the messenger god, he was also the god of commerce, speed, agility and more. No wonder so many people have made his image their own.

Even though the name might get dropped, some of the image has also infused fiction. In the comic book world, the early "Flash" (the fastest man alive) wore a helmet with wings and even the later upgraded Flash would sport wings on the side of his head. The Flash was a DC Comics character. Marvel Comics could not be outdone and had their own speedster, one of the Avengers; his name was "Quicksilver" though he did not have any of the apurtances of Mercury.

All in all, the image of Mercury in both fact and fiction has been a positive one, with only Mercury poisoning detracting from it. Ultimately, even though Mercury borrowed much from the Greek Hermes, he was a Roman god. This can be seen by the emphasis this anthropomorphized character put on commerce. Most of the modern borrowings of his name and symbols have this at least partly in mind. For example, the FTD Florists say this about their logo. "With worldwide visibility, the gold 'Mercury Man' is one of the most recognized logos in the world. It has become the floral industry's emblem of quality." The site goes on to point out that "the Mercury Network also provides FTD Florists with telemarketing services and PC-based business management applications software." The idea is to enhance customer satisfaction through innovative technologies, a key to commercial success.

As we have seen, the name "Mercury" has grown to cover a wide selection of concepts, from its beginings as a messenger god, to a planet, an element, a space project and a wide selection of businesses. All of these have in common ideas of speed and communication. Even the planet Mercury is thought by Astrologers to control aspects of human life. Mercury has been around for at least two mellenia. Concepts and ideas have a way of waxing and waning in the course of human history. But Mercury has only waxed even as the concepts he represents (communication and commerce) have expanded their impact on society and the world. Current indicators projected into the future reveal that Mercury still has a bright future.

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