Did you know that Rotary founder Paul Harris wasn’t the first president of a Rotary club? 
Did you know that Rotary founder Paul Harris wasn’t the first president of a Rotary club? 
That distinction is actually held by Harris’s friend Silvester Schiele, who served as the first president of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Harris deferred his club leadership duties until February 1907, when he was elected the third president of the Chicago club. 
On 23 February 1905, Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. A second club was formed in San Francisco in 1908, and soon after, clubs began to pop up across North America. 
On 1 August 1912, the Rotary Club of London became the first club chartered outside of North America. The Rotary Club of Dublin, Ireland, had been organised earlier, but didn’t receive its charter until 1 May 1913.
The first Rotary club in Australia was chartered in Melbourne in 1921
A wheel has been the symbol of Rotary since our earliest days. The first design was made by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear, an engraver who drew a simple wagon wheel, with a few lines to show dust and motion. The wheel was said to illustrate "Civilization and Movement." Most of the early clubs had some form of wagon wheel on their publications and letterheads. Finally, in 1922, it was decided that all Rotary clubs should adopt a single design as the exclusive emblem of Rotarians. Thus, in 1923, the present gear wheel, with 24 cogs and six spokes was adopted by the "Rotary International Association." A group of engineers advised that the geared wheel was mechanically unsound and would not work without a "keyway" in the centre of the gear to attach it to a power shaft. So, in 1923 the keyway was added and the design which we now know was formally adopted as the official Rotary International emblem.