Columbia Motor Car Company Radiator Emblem

This radiator emblem belonged to a Columbia Six automobile that was manufactured by the Columbia Motors Company of Detroit, Michigan from 1916 until 1924. Columbia was formed by executives from the King Motor Car Company, as well as William Metzger of the E.M.F. Company. The Columbia was an assembled car, meaning its core components came from other manufacturers and were assembled at the Columbia factory. The company met success and purchased the Liberty Moto Car Company to produce additional vehicles in 1923. This spread the company too thin, and the company failed in 1924. This emblem has a profile bust of the quasi-mythical Columbia, the female personification of the United States similar to the goddess Liberty. The emblem reads “Columbia/Made in Detroit/Six” in white lettering.
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.
Object Name
emblem, radiator
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Radiator Emblems
Road Transportation
Road Transportation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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