Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
BackSearch
Owen Magnetic radiator emblem

Enlarge Image
Owen Magnetic radiator emblem
Smithsonian Institution

IN CONTEXT

This object appears in the following sections:


Work and Industry
What is an emblem? — Is it electric?


Owen Magnetic radiator emblem
Catalog #: 325,528, Accession #: 260303
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
In 1915 Ray Owen adapted a gearless magnetic transmission from the battleship New Mexico for electric automobiles. An unconventional hybrid, the Owen Magnetic used a gas engine to generate electricity to power the transmission. The electrical transmission was smooth, flexible, and required no gear changing, but it was expensive.
Physical Description

Dimensions (in mm): 6.0 L x 8.5 W x 1.6 D

Inscriptions: OWEN OM MAGNETIC (with lightning bolts)

Materials: metal

Colors: black, white, gold, red

Details
Dates Used:
1915 - 1922
Locations:
Pennsylvania
Note:
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
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.


National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits