Sunday, November 30, 2008

Radiator emblem collection in the Smithsonian

Radiator emblems were colorful metal plates with a manufacturer's name or logo that attached to the radiators of early automobiles. Varying in shape and size, but never more than a few inches across, the emblems were small branding devices.

With about 55 emblems on display, around 1/4 of the cars made in th USA from 1890 to 1930, and a brief description of the car, the company, and the design of the emblem.
In the descriptions of some, I read about a couple standard features of different cars, like a Kodak camera, a compass, and tire chains.
Some of the brief descriptions are pure brain candy, educational, information I find fascinating: Louis Chevrolet was a well known racecar driver who aspired to owning his own automobile company. William Durant, a partner at the Durant-Dort Carriage Company ( the nation's largest carriage company), was looking to branch into automobile manufacturing and approached Chevrolet to help design a car for the general public. Along with French engineer, Etienne Planche, and former Buick plant manger, Bill Little, Chevrolet and Durant began their company.

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