A historical summary of the City of Chicago municipal device.


The Municipal Device of Chicago
Municipal Device of Chicago
Often overlooked and mostly forgotten about is the Chicago Municipal Device. This “Y” shaped figure can be found on lamp posts, fencing/railings, structures and buildings all across the city. While prominent on many municipal buildings and street lighting boxes, it can also often be found interestingly hidden in the facades of older commercial and industrial buildings across the city.


The Y figure represents the north and south branches of the Chicago River as they come together at Wolf Point. In some uses of the figure, the word “Chicago” appears at the top of the circle, the words “I Will” appear above the Y, and the words “opportunity and a square deal” appear within the bottom of the circle.


MCC 1-8-020 Design of Flag, Emblems and Badges. The forms, devices, symbols and colors in this chapter described and set forth, respectively, for the purpose mentioned, shall be and they are hereby adopted for the municipal flag, the municipal standard, the municipal pennant, the municipal device, and the municipal badge of the city. (Prior code 2-2)

MCC 1-8-090 Private Use of Flags and Emblems Unlawful. It shall be unlawful for any person to use the municipal flag, standard, pennant, or badge, or any imitation or design thereof, except for the usual and customary purposes of decoration or display. No person shall print or stamp thereon or cause to be displayed thereon any letter, word, Iegend or device not herein provided for. Any person violating this section shall be fined not less than $5.00 nor more than $25.00 for each offense. (Prior code 2-9)

MCC 1-8-070 Municipal device – City Vehicle Identification. The municipal device, for use by the varied unofficial interests of the city and its people, shall show a Y-shaped figure in a circle, colored and designed to suit individual tastes and needs. All automobiles and other vehicles which are owned by the city, except those used by the commissioner of police, and the detective bureau of the department of police, shall be distinctly marked as the property of the city by painting or placing thereon in a conspicuous place, in such a manner that the same cannot be removed, the municipal device, together with the words “City of Chicago,” and the name of the department operating the said automobile or other vehicle. (Prior code 2-7)

Reference Sources

  • Kaplan, J. (2008). “The Municipal Device.” Retrieved from Accessed January 1, 2010.
  • Chicago Public Library. “Municipal Device (Y – shaped figure).” Retrieved from Accessed January 1, 2010.