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Brownie Points: Fun Facts About the Color Brown

Want to earn some brownie points for your next trivia game? Since our busy holiday delivery season is at hand, you might want to make yourself an expert with these fun facts about UPS’s favorite color.

When UPS first began using motor vehicles for delivery in 1913, they were painted different colors to show that there was more than one package car.  It reflected class, elegance and professionalism. Equally important, dirt was less visible on brown uniforms and vehicles. By 1929, the entire UPS fleet was brown.

Fast forward 70 years to 1998 when UPS registered two trademarks on brown. The trademarks prevent other delivery companies from using the color for vehicles or clothing, and prevent any other company from using it if it creates market confusion with UPS.

About this time, some style magazines declared that, “brown is the new black,” and said the color should be a staple of any fashionable wardrobe. We knew it all along.

A two-year advance order is needed with suppliers to complete the UPS wardrobe. Some 1,673,000 yards of brown cloth and 175,000 miles of brown thread outfit more than 93,000 UPS drivers. Fortunately, we don’t need a single closet to hold 188,000 hats, 459,000 shirts, 303,000 trousers and 192,000 pairs of shorts.

Beyond fashion, there’s more than one brown encounter for UPS. From U.S. Census stats we know:

  • Deliveries are made to residences of 1.38 million Browns in the U.S., the fourth most common name, led only by Smith, Johnson and Williams
  • Thousands and thousands of Brown streets, avenues or roads, with 360 different brown variations, connect communities
  • There are nine counties, 352 towns or cities named Brown, Brownsville or some other derivation. That’s more than 1% of the 25,375 towns in the U.S. The largest is Brownsville, Texas (pop. 139,722); the smallest at Brownell, Kansas (pop. 48)

And that doesn’t include the UPS roster of more than 408,000 employees where 2,029 co-workers share the name Brown in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Category: Business Insights
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