We have all seen the perky yellow smiley face by now. It has been plastered on merchandise and T-shirts since the '60s, and now dozens of smileys live in our phones in the form of emojis.

But did you know the inventor is from Massachusetts?

Harvey Ross Ball from Worcester is credited for inventing the iconic smiley face in 1963, and even though it only took him 10 minutes to create, the smiley lives on as a pop culture phenomenon.

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Who Is Harvey Ross Ball?

The World Smile Day Foundation was created to honor Harvey Ball and his legacy, and it shared how this artist from Worcester created one of the most recognizable smileys around.

After World War II, “Veteran of the Year” Harvey Ball worked for a local advertising firm and started his own business called Harvey Ball Advertising in 1959.

A merger between The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester and Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio resulted in low employee morale, and in an attempt to come up with a solution, Ball was brought in to create a smiley face to be used on buttons, desk cards and posters.

“The use of the smiley face was part of the company’s friendship campaign whereby State Mutual handed out 100 smiley pins to employees,” the World Smile Day Foundation said. “The aim was to get employees to smile while using the phone and doing other tasks.”

Ten minutes and $45 later, the iconic smiley face was born.

By 1971, more than 50 million Smiley Face buttons were sold.

Here’s the kicker: Ball never applied for a trademark or copyright, so his check for $45 was the only money he saw from his iconic smiley. But he will forever have a “happy” legacy as the man behind that big, yellow Smiley Face.

Without him, who knows if emojis would have ever happened?

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