DeSoto Radiator Emblem

This radiator emblem belonged to the De Soto brand of cars that were produced by Chrysler from 1928 until 1961. The brand was named after 16th century Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, credited as being the first modern European to cross the Mississippi River. De Soto’s helmeted visage appeared on many radiator emblems or hood ornaments on the De Soto line. This radiator emblem merely reads De Soto above a coat of arms. The emblem is a stylized version of the traditional Soto heraldry, the coat of arms is quartered, with eagles on the first and fourth, three locks in the second, and two locks in the third.
Radiator emblems are small, colorful metal plates bearing an automobile manufacturer's name or logo that attached to the radiators grilles of early automobiles. Varying in shape and size, the emblems served as a small branding device, sometimes indicating the type of engine, place of manufacturing, or using an iconic image or catchy slogan to advertise their cars make and model. This emblem is part of the collection that was donated by Hubert G. Larson in 1964.
Currently not on view
Object Name
emblem, radiator
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Radiator Emblems
Road Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Radiator Emblems
Road Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.