Things Called “Arm and Hammer,” Ranked
Counting off five Hammers that are just so hyped.
The Wicked Encyclopedia disambiguates “arm and hammer” from the proper nouns it probably inspired as “a symbol of industry” (referring to the logo appropriated for the popular Church & Dwight manufacturer of household products), tracing its lineage back to the Roman god Vulcan and citing later ties to Freemason and socialist parties. It’s an image that recalls simpler times—namely, times before trademark registration—in its association to a variety of labor-focused groups, serving as a visual synonym to the hammer and sickle that would arrive further down the road and, more recently, the DANGER: HARD HAT AREA signs that have since become so chic.
In the spirit of the image’s public domain-ness, the name “arm and hammer” has since been attributed to a number of products, musical groups, and human children with varying degrees of relevance to the symbol’s original meaning. As a means of further dissociating these entirely disparate specimens of culture—and more importantly, needlessly pitting them against each other—we’ve ranked five arms-and-hammers you should probably be aware of, regardless of your (or their) views on the means of production.
For the sake of reducing the number of subjects overtly named after another subject already on the list, we’ll have to omit the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, Arm & Hammer Park, and the minor planet Armandhammer, and to avoid cluttering such a brief list with hip-hop things we’re also going to have to check Strong Arm Steady’s Arms & Hammers LP and Kevin Gates’s “Arm & Hammer” single at the door. Otherwise, may the strongest arm and the most expertly-forged hammer win.
The pair of LA producers and Josephs (Chung and Abella) known for their remixes of other inscrutably acronymic dancemongers are the newest addition to the Hammer canon and will probably exhibit the least staying power. They offer little to the name besides a bunch of cut-and-dry EDM crescendos and a Chainsmokers remix—two things the Roman god of fire would likely have no patience for.
4. Arm & Hammer
There was a period in my life when, for some unremembered reason, I was using Arm & Hammer stick deodorant instead of the Old Spice gel deodorant I’d relied on before (and definitely since) this illusory period. All I remember was applying the product in the morning only to suffer the shame of soapy crumbs tumbling out of my sleeves all day—sometimes with armpit hairs attached—and the overwhelming feeling that dabbing my body with a dry, solid object did little to mask any odors. Maybe their “Hammer” products yield better results.
3. Armand Hammer
The most philanthropic, political, entrepreneurial, worldly, and accomplished of the Hammers, Armand is also tied to each of the other subjects on this list in some way or another. Born of socialist parents, Hammer passed his name on to multiple generations in addition to lending it to schools, parks, and golf courses. In fact, the brand Arm & Hammer existed totally independently of him for over a century until Armand tried to buy the company in the ’80s purely for its name. Although he may not be the best thing called “arm and hammer,” he is certainly the most devoted to advancing the cause.
2. Armand Hammer
Billy Woods and Elucid are two of the greatest rappers of our time, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that they collaborate so frequently. What’s more, they chose the moniker Armand Hammer under which to dish out albums and mixtapes, a name that reflects both lyricists’ themes of struggle to succeed, adapt, or even survive in an inherently racist America, as well as the industrial, often apocalyptic clamor the duo typically raps over. Take a look at the cover of their latest album, aptly called ROME, and peep the creative fire in which the duo forged their bludgeoning sophomore LP.
1. Armie Hammer
Supreme hunk of Queer and Straight Cinema, son of businessman Michael Armand Hammer, and great-grandson of the previously listed Armand Hammer (the magnate, not the rap group), Armond “Armie” Hammer is the ultimate Arm-and-Hammer thing for which all other Arm-and-Hammer things should relate—sorry Billy and Elucid, your twosome is now a tribute to the duo of Winklevosses so spitefully portrayed by our Hammerman; whoops, looks like your baking soda should rebrand itself around the justice-seeking, blazer-concealed bicep of Hammer’s Lone Ranger; Armand the First, I regret to inform you that your great grandson has out-Armand-Hammered you, frolicking indistinguishably amongst sculptures of actual Roman gods in this winter’s feel-something hit. Embarrassed by the relative failure of their respective endeavors, all the other Armand Hammers should revere their new namesake, pleading to the potential heir of Occidental Petroleum: “call me by your name.” FL