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Austin Automobile Company radiator emblem

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Austin Automobile Company radiator emblem
Smithsonian Institution

IN CONTEXT

This object appears in the following sections:


Work and Industry
What is an emblem? — American aristocracy


Austin Automobile Company radiator emblem
Catalog #: 325,528, Accession #: 260,303
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Not to be confused with the more successful British manufacturer of the same name, only about 1000 American Austins were produced from 1901 to 1921. The Highway King was much larger than its contemporaries until 1915, when the company began offering smaller and cheaper cars.
Physical Description

Dimensions (in mm): 8.7 L x 5.3 W x .4 D

Inscriptions: AUSTIN THE HIGHWAY KING AUSTIN AUTOMOBILE CO GRAND RAPIDS, MICH, U.S.A

Materials: metal

Colors: white, red, blue, silver

Details
Dates Used:
1901 - 1921
Locations:
Michigan
Note:
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Credit:
Gift of Hubert G. Larson
History
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. As vehicles became more popular in a national market, people began associating the company name and logo on different vehicle models with a specific manufacturer. Radiator emblems sometimes indicated the type of engine or place of manufacturing. Other times they appealed directly to a driver's sense of style and class by using iconic images or a catchy motto.
Related People, Places, and Events
Donor
Hubert G. Larson
In 1964 Hubert G. Larson donated a collection of 278 radiator emblems to the Smithsonian.


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