Seal of Ohio

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Seal of Ohio
Seal of Ohio (Official).svg
Armiger State of Ohio
Adopted 1996 (current form)
Earlier versions Many, starting 1803
Use State government offices and letterheads, driver's licenses, (formerly) license plates
Coat of arms of the State of Ohio
Coat of arms of Ohio.svg
Ohio state coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg
Coat of arms (illustrated, 1876)
Armiger State of Ohio
Adopted 1953[1] (current form in 1996)
Use State and local government offices

The Great Seal of the State of Ohio features the U.S. state's coat of arms surrounded by the words, "THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF OHIO" in news gothic capitals (ORC §5.10). Ohio's coat of arms features a full sheaf of wheat, symbolizing agriculture and bounty; a cluster of seventeen arrows, symbolizing Ohio's admittance as the seventeenth of the United States of America; a representation of Mount Logan, Ross County, as viewed from the Adena Mansion; a rising sun three-quarters exposed and radiating thirteen rays to represent the original thirteen states shining over the first state of the Northwest Territory; and a representation of the Scioto River and cultivated fields (ORC §5.04).


View of Sugarloaf Mountain and Sand Hill from Adena

The seal's design has changed at least ten times in the state's history.[2] The original coat of arms, based on a sketch by Secretary of State William Creighton, Jr., was adopted on March 28, 1803, for official use by the governor. However, the original legislation was repealed in 1805, leading to a wide array of designs.[3] For example, the 1847 seal depicted in the Statehouse rotunda skylight includes a canal boat.[4] On April 6, 1866, a Republican General Assembly adopted an elaborate coat of arms that stipulated:

...supporting the shield, on the right, shall be the figure of a farmer, with implements of agriculture and sheafs of wheat standing erect and recumbent; and in the distance, a locomotive and train of cars; supporting the shield, on the left, shall be the figure of a smith, with anvil and hammer; and in the distance, water, with a steamboat; at the bottom of the shield there shall be a motto, in these words: Imperium in Imperio.

The Republicans' new motto proved unpopular, as it ironically recalled states' rights just after the Civil War. A Democratic General Assembly replaced the entire coat of arms with a much simpler design on May 9, 1868.[5][6]

The Ohio General Assembly adopted the current coat of arms in 1967.[7] The latest modification, in 1996, reduced the number of rays from 18 to 13.[8] There were unsuccessful attempts in 1999, 2003, and 2011 to add the Wright Flyer to the seal.[9][10][11]

The "Sunburst" license plate design featured the upper half of the Ohio coat of arms.

From 2004 to 2010, the state's official coat of arms served as a backdrop for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' "Sunburst" license plate design, which was issued over a longer period than any other design since the 1980s.

Seals of the Government of Ohio[edit]

Other uses[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ohio". State of Ohio. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  2. ^ "Rotunda". The Ohio Statehouse. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board. 2005-12-20. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  3. ^ From A Territory To the State of Ohio: Student Activities to Understand the Transition (PDF). Museums and Interpretation Division, Ohio Historical Society. 2005-08-22. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  4. ^ "Art in the Rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse" (PDF). The Ohio Statehouse. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board. 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  5. ^ "Great Seal of Ohio". Ohio History 10: 392–393. 
  6. ^ a b Knabenshue, S. S. "The Great Seal of Ohio". Ohio History 10: 489–490. 
  7. ^ "The Great Seal of Ohio; The ODOT Emblem". Ohio Department of Transportation. 2005-08-12. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  8. ^ "FINAL Legislative Status Sheet - 121st GA" (PDF). Ohio Legislative Service Commission. 1996-12-31. Retrieved 2010-10-17. "[SB 213] Great Seal/Coat of Arms-change-13 rays" 
  9. ^ 123 HB 17, 123rd General Assembly.
  10. ^ 125 HB 99, 125th General Assembly.
  11. ^ 129 HB 309, 129th General Assembly.
  12. ^ The State Seal of Ohio

External links[edit]