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Chevrolet radiator emblem

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Chevrolet radiator emblem
Smithsonian Institution


This object appears in the following sections:

Work and Industry
What is an emblem? — Introduction

Dort radiator emblem

Chevrolet automobile

Chevrolet radiator emblem
Catalog #: 325,528, Accession #: 260,303
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
During the early 20th century, 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. The Chevrolet Motor Car Company was incorporated on November 3, 1911 in Detroit, Michigan. No vehicles were produced that first year, but Chevrolet grew to be one of the Big Three automakers to survive the Great Depression.
Physical Description

Dimensions (in mm): 4.8 L x 11.5 W x 1.2 D

Inscriptions: CHEVROLET

Materials: metal

Colors: blue, white, silver

Dates Used:
1911 - present
Detroit, 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.

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