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Columbia Motor Car Company radiator emblem

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Columbia Motor Car Company radiator emblem
Smithsonian Institution

Columbia Motor Car

Columbia Automobile

Columbia Motor Car Company radiator emblem
Catalog #: 325,528, Accession #: 260,303
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
The Columbia Motor Car Company is the fifth name of a company with a complex heritage decending from the Pope Manufacturing Company. Columbia initially sold electric vehicles, introducing gasoline powered vehicles in 1899.
Physical Description

Dimensions (in mm): 5.8 L x 5.8 W x .4 D

Inscriptions: THE COLUMBIA MOTOR CAR COMPANY HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT (with images of a balance, calipers, and retort)

Materials: metal

Colors: gold, white, black

Dates Used:
1897 - 1913
Hartford, Connecticut
Gift of Hubert G. Larson
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
Hubert G. Larson
In 1964 Hubert G. Larson donated a collection of 278 radiator emblems to the Smithsonian.

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