History of the Union Pacific Logo

A Symbolic History

Medium Retina | Heritage: History of the UP logo - Elk logo

Union Pacific's shield is one of the nation's most respected and recognized corporate logos; a symbol of strength reflecting America's heritage. During the company's 150-year history, the shield has mirrored the styles and economic trends that shaped both the railroad and the nation.

Beginning with the introduction of the first UP logo in 1868, the company has had four logos prior to the shield's inception, and since 1887, 11 different shield designs. In total, there have been 27 changes made to the Union Pacific logo identity since the mountain elk logo was first used to identify the fledgling "Union Pacific Rail Road Company" in 1868. Despite their continuous evolution, Union Pacific's logos have remained under the protection of active trademark patent for more than 100 years.

The information in this section traces the evolution of the UP logo within a context of historical milestones. Dates shown for logos indicate either earliest known use, official issuance, or the date of creation. Occasionally logos continued to appear in use after being superseded by a new version.