| Travel |

Western Exterminator Company's "Little Man"

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Few signs around Phoenix are as eye-catching as Western Exterminator Company's "Little Man."

The "Little Man" is really anything but -- the fiberglass figure of a man in a top hat holding a hammer behind his back stands nearly 10 feet tall, and hovers over 24th Street from about 20 feet above. His top hat is visible from two blocks away. So how did this large fellow become known as the "Little Man"?

Perhaps he needed a nickname because his official name, "Kernel Kleenup," sounds like the title of someone who cleans sewers on a corn farm.

"The Little Man" was created by artist Vaughn Kaufman in 1931. Western Exterminating Company was founded 10 years prior in Los Angeles, California, and felt they needed a logo and mascot. And so "Kernel Kleenup" was created.

The name didn't stick. Company employees kept referring to the mascot as "The Little Man with the Hammer," and even after WEC held a TV contest to re-name him in 1964, he remained "The Little Man."

Today, Western Exterminating Company has multiple locations in California and Nevada, but to our knowledge, the WEC office near 24th and Pierce streets is the only Arizona location -- and thus, the only place in the Valley to see "The Little Man."

"The Little Man" is located in front of Western Exterminating Company, 618 N. 24th Street.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.