Stephens Radiator Emblem

This radiator emblem belonged to a Stephens automobile that was manufactured by the Moline Plow Company of Freeport, Illinois from 1917 until 1924. Like many automobile makers, the Moline Plow Company was originally in the business of building plows, wagons, and buggies, but sought to diversify their output as traditional sales began to wane in the 1910s. The Stephens automobile was produced by Moline Plow in 1917, taking the last name of the company’s founder as its flagship model. By 1919 the company has been bought by Willys-Overland, but kept as a separate entity with its previous corporate governance intact. The company was renamed the Stephens Motor Car Company in 1922, before ending production in 1924 with an output estimated at around 25,000 cars. This circular silver emblem has a white enamel background that reads “STEPHENS” in blue lettering, with a blue circle underneath that has the overlapping letters “MPC.” in silver.
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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