Pope-Hartford Radiator Emblem

Pope-Hartford Radiator Emblem

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Albert A. Pope, the nation’s leading mass producer of bicycles in the late nineteenth century, introduced thousands of Americans to the benefits of personal mobility. In the late 1890s, the Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut also became a major player in the new start-up field of automobile manufacturing. Pope used his production capacity and mass production methods to manufacture automobiles, the next personal mobility frontier for upper middle class, urban Americans. Initially Pope was committed to electricity as a power source because it was clean, simple, and safe; he believed that demand for electric cars would surpass gasoline and steam cars. Pope introduced the Columbia electric car in 1897 and built 500 examples in the late 1890s – the largest volume of any auto maker at that time -- before selling the car division to a group of investors. Pope then began manufacturing Pope-Waverley electric cars in Indianapolis. By 1904, as gasoline cars proved more appealing than electric cars, Pope expanded again, building Pope-Hartford gasoline cars in Hartford and Pope-Toledo gasoline cars in Toledo, Ohio. By the time of Pope’s death in 1909, the Indianapolis and Toledo concerns and their products had disappeared, victims of a crowded field of automobile manufacturers and competition in the high-priced range. The Pope-Hartford continued under the management of Pope’s brother George until that business entered receivership in 1913 and shut down in 1914.
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
Other Terms
emblem, radiator; Road; Automobile
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Hubert G. Larson
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Radiator Emblems
Road Transportation
Places of Invention
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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