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Maxwell Motor Company radiator emblem

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Maxwell Motor Company radiator emblem
Smithsonian Institution


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Building and Selling Cars

Eddie Rickenbacker in a Maxwell racecar

Chrysler radiator emblem

Maxwell Motor Company radiator emblem
Catalog #: 325,528, Accession #: 260,303
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
Jonathon Maxwell and Benjamin Briscoe collaborated to make a small runabour in 1904. This make performed well in early races. In 1923 Walter P. Chrysler took over Maxwell, with the last Maxwells being produced in 1925.
Physical Description

Dimensions (in mm): 8.3 L x 6.7 H x 0.5 D

Inscriptions: “MOTOR Maxwell COMPANY”

Materials: metal

Colors: red, white, blue, silver

Dates Used:
1904 - 1925
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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