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Reo radiator emblem

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Reo radiator emblem
Smithsonian Institution


This object appears in the following sections:

Work and Industry
What is an emblem? — Introduction

Pliney Olds at the wheel of the first Reo

Olds Motor Works radiator emblem

Reo radiator emblem
Catalog #: 325,528, Accession #: 260,303
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This vehicle takes its name from the initials of its founder, Ransom Eli Olds, who left Oldsmobile to start a new company. Reo made a variety of cars, which were steady sellers up through the Depression. Although the last private car was manufactured in 1936, trucks and buses were made sporadically through the 1950s as a division of White.
Physical Description

Dimensions (in mm): 6.1 L x 8.1 W x 1.2 D

Inscriptions: R E O (with wings)

Materials: metal

Colors: dark blue, light blue, white, silver

Dates Used:
1904 - 1936
Lansing, Michigan
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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