Cartercar Radiator Emblem

This radiator emblem belonged to a Cartercar. Cartercar was originally founded as the Motorcar Company in Jackson, Michigan in 1906. It renamed itself the Cartercar Company and moved to Detroit in 1906, before settling in Pontiac, Michigan from 1907 until 1915. Byron J. Carter formed the Cartercar Company to manufacture a vehicle featuring the friction drive transmission, as opposed to a chain & sprocket transmission. Carter died of gangrene in 1908, caused when he was struck in the jaw by a starter crank. Cartercar was sold to William Durant in 1909 and brought under the General Motors umbrella. But after Durant was dismissed from GM in 1910, the Cartercar factory was reassigned to manufacture the Oakland automobile.
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

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