November 17, 2023


Templar Motors Corp. (1917-1923)

Templar Motor Car Co. (1923-1924)

Cleveland/Lakewood, Ohio

This is a Templar radiator emblem (1918-1924)    mjs
Size:76mm wide 53mm high   MM: Bastian Bros

The Templar car was a well designed assembled car with a sporty, stylish appearance. The engine was designed by the Templar Chief Engineer, A. M. Dean, and was unique to the Templar. The first few Templar car appeared in July 1917 and were built in Cleveland before the Templar factory in Lakewood was completed. 

The Templar factory at Lakewood was used for the production of munitions during World War I, which effectively interrupted Templar car production before it had really begun. Full Templar production did not begin until 1919. 

The Templar was a 43 hp four-cylinder motor car offered in a variety of body styles of aluminum construction and built by Lang or Rubay in Cleveland and later by Central of Indiana. The Templar was advertised as "The Superfine Small Car". In July 1919 the Templar enjoyed good publicity when Cannonball Baker drove a Templar from New York to Chicago in a new record time of 26 hours 50 minutes beating the previous record by more than six hours.

The Templar suffered from post war material shortages and after 1920 sales dropped. Then in December 1921 part of the Templar factory burned down and the company was in receivership in 1922. The company was reorganized in late 1923 as the Templar Motor Car Company and a new line of 27 hp six-cylinder cars appeared in 1924. It was all too late, however, and the Templar was finished before the end of 1924.


The Templar was named after the Knights Templar but used the Maltese cross as a logo, although the Maltese cross was the symbol of the Knights Hospitaller and not the Knights Templar. However, the Maltese cross is the symbol of the Order of Malta, which is a degree associated with the Masonic Order of the Knights Templar. The owners of the Templar Motors Corporation were serious freemasons and, no doubt, felt that the Maltese cross was visually more appealing than the cross pattee used by the Knights Templar.

The Templar carried a radiator emblem depicting a Knight Templar riding a horse in full armor with a lance. There are several versions of this emblem.

The first Templar cars appeared in 1917 and carried an oval shaped, black and white radiator emblem, see the photo shown below of the very first Templar car built in Cleveland:

Templar car No 1 showing white radiator emblem (1917)  dbc

This black and white Templar radiator emblem is more clearly seen on the following original factory photo of a Templar roadster built in Lakewood in 1917 but with a 1918 license plate:

Templar Roadster (1917-1918)   dbc

Close up showing white radiator emblem

It is believed that the black and white Templar radiator emblem was used for most, if not all, of the first 150 Templar cars built in 1917 and 1918. This includes the Templar Victoria Elite model built in 1918 for the 1919 model year, see original period photo shown below. This Templar model was very expensive and aimed at a small but wealthy, chauffeur driven clientele. Very few Victoria Elite models were actually built and the model was dropped in early 1909.

Templar Victoria Elite showing radiator emblem (1919)  dbc

There are no surviving examples of Templar cars built in 1917 or 1918 but it is believed that the radiator emblem may have been the black and white enamel emblem shown below, although I cannot confirm this absolutely. If this is indeed an original Templar radiator emblem, then it is extremely rare and possibly ultra rare.

This appears to be the first Templar radiator emblem (1917-1918) ms
Size: 76mm wide 53mm high      MM: Unknown

The white, brown and green Templar radiator emblem shown below has the same basic design of the Knight Templar and his horse as the black and white emblem shown above and, for this reason, is assumed to be an example of the next Templar radiator emblem but this cannot be confirmed absolutely. This Templar radiator emblem has not been seen on a surviving Templar car and is believed to have been used for a short time only from possibly late 1918 or early 1919, making this emblem extremely rare.

This is a Templar radiator emblem (c1918-1919)     mjs
Size: 76mm wide 53mm high   MM: Unknown (some Bastian Bros)

A new multi-color enamel Templar radiator emblem appeared later in 1919, see example shown above at the top of this post and again below:

This is a Templar radiator emblem (c1919-1924)    mjs
Size: 76mm wide 53mm high    MM: Bastian Bros

This Templar radiator emblem displays a more elaborate design of the Knight Templar, who now wears a plumed helmet, and his horse now carries more detailed trappings and a banner with the Maltese cross. This Templar radiator emblem is seen on all known surviving Templar cars and is very rare.

The following apparent variant of this emblem design displays several detailed differences and is of poor quality. The transparent pale green enamel in the central wedge panel is a mystery but this emblem is likely to be a reproduction emblem.

This likely to be a reproduction Templar emblem   kmc
Size: 76mm wide 53mm high   

The photo below shows that the oval Templar radiator emblem was mounted on a specially designed collar at the top of the radiator under the filler cap or the motor meter, where this was fitted. All oval shaped Templar radiator emblems are the same size in order to fit into the same mounting collar.

This is a Templar radiator emblem and motor meter (1922)    caam

After a series of record breaking runs in a Templar car, from New York to Chicago in 1919 and New York to Los Angeles in 1920, Cannonball Baker, the driver, was presented with a Templar car, which carried a specially made bright gold and black Cannonball Baker Special emblem displaying the Maltese cross, similar to the example below:

This is a Cannonball Baker Special emblem (1920)     mjs
Size: 76mm wide 53mm high      MM: None (original Bastian Bros)

This emblem is exactly the same size as the other oval shaped Templar emblems and may have been made to fit into the radiator emblem mounting collar. In the event, however, the car presented to Cannonball Baker carried a standard Templar radiator emblem, as shown at the top of this post, and the Cannonball Baker Special emblem was mounted on the outside of the car near to the driver's entrance, see photo below:

Cannonball Baker Special emblem mounted near the driver's entrance    autoweek

The above photo is of the actual Templar car presented to Cannonball Baker, which has survived. The Cannonball Baker Special emblem on the door has a Bastian Bros maker's mark. This emblem was not used on any other car and is ultra rare. The Cannonball Baker Special emblem shown earlier above is believed to be a reproduction but is, nevertheless, rare. 

The following black and green enamel Templar radiator emblem is a bit of a mystery. It has not been seen on a surviving Templar car, but an original brochure illustration of a custom-built Brunn bodied Templar shows black and green in the wheel hubs. This suggests that the emblem shown below may have been used on the radiator but this cannot be confirmed. This Templar radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a Templar radiator emblem (c1920 date uncertain)     ms
Size: 76mm wide 53mm high      MM: Unknown

Original black and white photos of a Templar taxi cab with 1920 license plates made for the Checker Taxi Company in Chicago show a radiator emblem, which appears closely similar to the emblem shown above with dark, probably black enamel outside the middle triangle, see photo shown below. It is highly likely that the emblem shown above was used on this Templar taxi but, in the absence of a color photo, I cannot confirm this absolutely.

Templar taxi cab showing radiator emblem (c1920)  dbc

Close up showing radiator emblem     dbc

A completely different Templar radiator emblem was introduced in 1924 for the Templar-Six model, see Templar brochure cover illustration below:

This is a Templar-Six brochure cover showing the radiator emblem (1924)    ms

This is the blue, pale blue and white enamel Templar-Six radiator emblem shown below. This Templar radiator emblem is extremely rare:

This is a Templar-Six radiator emblem (1924)     sam
Size:  71mm wide 71mm high      MM: Unknown

The Templar Maltese Cross trademark was displayed on the hubcaps, see examples shown below:

This is a Templar wire-wheel hubcap    ms

This is a Templar wood-wheel hubcap   dkc

Templar roadsters also displayed the Maltese Cross trademark on leather scuff protectors and on the step plates, see examples shown below:

Templar scuff protector    dbc

Templar scuff protector & step plate (1922)   caam

Templar step plate     dbc

As mentioned earlier, the Maltese cross logo adopted by Templar Motors was the symbol of the Knights Hospitaller not the Knights Templar. The cross used by the Knights Templar was the cross pattee, as shown below:

This is a Knight Templar wearing the cross pattee    wiki

I am grateful to Dave Buehler of the Templar Cars Factory Display at the Erie Building in Lakewood, Ohio for his most helpful and detailed advice on the Templar motor car and for providing original period photographs of Templar cars from his comprehensive photographic and literature collection. Any errors in my interpretation of his advice are entirely down to me.


Croxton Motor Co. (1910-1911)

Consolidated Motor Car Co. (1911)

Cleveland, Ohio

Croxton Motor Co. (1912-1914)

Washington, Pennsylvania

This is a Croxton emblem (1910-1911)    sam
Size: 48mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The Croxton Motor Company was established in 1910 when the Croxton-Keeton Motor Car Company went into receivership (see Croxton-Keeton). Initially the Croxton was simply the Croxton-Keeton with a new emblem with some new models also being introduced. All Croxton models had four-cylinder engines in sizes from 30 hp up to 48 hp.

In March 1911, the Croxton Motor Company joined with the Royal Tourist Car Company and the Acme Body & Veneer Company to form the Consolidated Motor Car Company but this did not work out and the company was dissolved a few months later. 

The Croxton Motor Company was re-established and a new factory was opened in Washington, Pennsylvania in late 1912. A six-cylinder Croxton model was introduced in 1912 alongside the four-cylinder models. However, Croxton was soon in financial trouble and it was all over by early 1914.


The Croxton emblem shown above is extremely rare. This Croxton emblem may have been used as a radiator emblem but I cannot confirm this.

It is possible that there was an enamelled Croxton radiator emblem similar to the radiator emblem used on the  "German" style Croxton-Keeton (see Croxton-Keeton) but this is not confirmed. It is also possible that there was a different emblem for the Croxton car built in Washington, Pennsylvania. If such Croxton emblems do exist they would be extremely rare. If you have details or photos of any of these emblems, please let me know, in order to update this post.


Waltham Automobile Co. (1899-1902)

Waltham, Massachusetts

This is a Walthan Steamer nameplate (c1900)    alt
Size: Unknown

John W. Piper and George M. Tinker worked for Charles Heman Metz, making Orient bicycles at the Waltham Manufacturing Company, but were allowed to build their own 3 hp steam driven buggy, which was displayed at the Boston Automobile Show in 1898. They built two more steamers called Piper & Tinker and an electric car called Orient Electric, which was displayed at Madison Square Garden in 1899.

Piper and Tinker then left Metz and established the Waltham Automobile Company to sell their stanhope steamer. There are no details available regarding production numbers but these are likely to have been small, as the enterprise was finished in 1902.


The Waltham Steamer did not display an emblem but carried a small maker's nameplate, see example above at the top of this post. This Waltham Steamer nameplate is extremely rare.


Roy M. Meisenhelder Sheet Metal Auto Work (1919-1924)

York, Pennsylvania

This is a Meisenhelder radiator emblem (1919)    ms
Size: Unknown  MM: Unknown

Roy M. Meisenhelder had a sheet metal and auto repair business in York, Pennsylvania but his hobby was customizing automobiles. He never built a complete automobile but when he had finished customizing a car, it was not at all easy to tell what the original car had been. 

The first Meisenhelder creation was made in 1919 and three more Meisenhelder cars were produced in 1924. It is possible that other Meisenhelder cars followed. The 1919 Meisenhelder is extant and was shown at the AACA Fall Meet at Hershey in 2008.


The Meisenhelder radiator emblem shown above was mounted on the radiator of the 1919 Meisenhelder, see photo shown below, and may be unique:

Meisenhelder displaying radiator emblem (1919)  ms

The Meisenhelder hub cap shown below is very rare.

This is a Meisenhelder hub cap (1919)    ms

The Meisenhelder name was also displayed on the serial plate, see unused plate shown below. This Meisenhelder serial plate is rare.

Meisenhelder serial plate (c1919)   mjs
Size: 70mm wide 35mm high


Anderson Carriage Co. (1907-1910)
Anderson Electric Car Co. (1911-1919)
Detroit Electric Car Co. (1919-1933)

Detroit Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Co. (1933-1939)
Detroit, Michigan

This is a Detroit Electric wood wheel hub emblem (1911-1918)  mjs
Size: 48mm diameter    MM: Unknown

The Anderson Manufacturing Company was established in Port Huron, Michigan in 1874 and moved to Detroit, becoming the Anderson Carriage Company in 1895. In 1906 Anderson moved into the automotive field with the introduction of the Detroit Electric, an urban electric motor car with an advertised 80 miles range on a single battery charge. In 1909 Anderson bought the Elwell-Parker Company of Cleveland, which had supplied electric motors to Baker Electric, Babcock/Buffalo, Columbus and others, so Anderson was then able to build all the significant components of the Detroit Electric, except the later rear axles.

Production of the Detroit Electric grew year by year from 1907 and reached 744 in 1910. In 1911, the company was renamed the Anderson Electric Car Company. Some Detroit Electric models in the 1910-1912 period were given false hoods and radiators to make them look like conventional gasoline cars, although most models retained their distinctive electric car appearance. Detroit Electric production continued to grow and reached about 1,800 by 1914.

Beginning in 1915, the Anderson Electric Car Company had a program to buy back some of their earlier cars and "re-manufacture" them with changes to modernize them. These re-manufactured cars were sold as new but some kept their old serial numbers. After 1926, all Detroit Electric vehicles were re-manufactured cars on earlier chassis and rarely had new parts

Electric car sales fell after the spread of the electric starter and was crippled by the shift to a war economy in 1917 but the Detroit Electric remained in production. Some later Detroit Electric passenger car models were again redesigned to look like contemporary gasoline cars with a false hood and radiator.

In 1919, the company split into separate parts, with Ewell-Parker returning to independence, the factory campus becoming a coach builder, the electric car business moving to a smaller factory and being renamed the Detroit Electric Car Company. 

Commercial vehicles were built from 1910, starting with a 1-ton truck with a single Elwell-Parker electric motor and side-chain drive. The range of trucks grew to a 2-ton vehicle by 1916, after which the Detroit Electric truck line was discontinued. 

In 1924, George Bacon, the Detroit Electric chief engineer, developed an electric powered delivery vehicle with four alternative driving positions; at the front, at the rear, and on either running-board, but Detroit Electric did not want to produce it. Bacon left Detroit Electric and with other investors set up the Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company to develop a gasoline engine version of this delivery vehicle to be called the Divco (see Divco).

After the Great Depression in 1930, sales fell sharply and production was eventually limited to an individual-order basis. Detroit Electric cars became identical to gasoline cars in appearance, some using Willys-Overland coachwork. Some of the final Detroit Electric models in the later 1930's used Dodge hoods and radiator grilles. 

America's most famous and longest-lived electric car, the Detroit Electric, quietly disappeared from the automotive field after 1939.


The Detroit Electric had a distinctive logo that was shown in Detroit Electric advertisements from 1909, see logo shown below:

The Detroit Electric Logo

Some, but not all, early Detroit Electric vehicles displayed the "Detroit Electric" name using a brass script mounted on the radiator core, see the following original photo of a line of Detroit Electric cars from about 1910 with one car carrying a radiator script:

Line of Detroit Electric cars one with a rad script (c1910)  dpl

Detail showing a Detroit Electric with rad script (c1910)

The following original period photo from 1911 shows a Detroit Electric carrying a smaller "Detroit Electric" script on the radiator tank top:

Detroit Electric showing radiator script emblem (1911)  dpl

However, for most of its life, the Detroit Electric did not carry an emblem on the body of the vehicle but did display the "Detroit" name on the hubcaps, the step plates and the cast aluminum running boards and on a small maker's nameplate/serial plate attached to the body or on the dash. The following show some examples used by the Anderson Carriage Company:

This is a Detroit Electric Model D hubcap (1910)    bonhams

This is the originally black background painted, metal Detroit Electric hub emblem shown below. This Detroit Electric hub emblem is scarce.

This is a Detroit Electric hub emblem (1907-1910)   mjs
Size: 51mm diameter   MM: Unknown

This is a Detroit Electric Model D step plate (1910)  bonhams

This is a Detroit Electric Model D serial plate (1910)  bonhams

From about 1910 to 1912, some Detroit Electric models had a false hood and radiator to make the car appear more conventional but they did not carry a radiator emblem, see Detroit Electric sales brochure illustration shown below:

Detroit Electric Model 31   dhc

The following photo from Canada shows a restored 1912 Detroit Electric. The car displays the "Detroit Electric" logo on a brass script mounted on a false radiator. This Detroit Electric logo style radiator script is not seen on original period photos but is seen on several restored Detroit Electric cars and has most likely been produced specially for the restoration and for display at auto shows.

Detroit Electric showing a radiator script (1912)  
vancouver electric vehicle association 

From 1911, the Detroit Electric company name changed to the Anderson Electric Car Company, which appeared on the hub emblems, sill plates, step plates, running boards and nameplates, see examples shown below.

The following Detroit Electric emblem, also shown above at the top of this post, is slightly domed. It was originally finished in polished nickel on a dull black background but has been hand painted in restoration. This emblem was used as a wood wheel hub emblem. This Detroit Electric emblem is scarce.

This is a Detroit Electric wood wheel hub emblem (1911-1918)    mjs
Size: 48mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The following are Detroit Electric wire wheel hub emblems. These Detroit Electric hub emblems are  scarce.

This is a Detroit Electric wire wheel hub emblem (1914-1917)  ghc
Size: 56mm diameter    MM: None

This is a Detroit Electric wire wheel hub emblem (1918-1919)  mjs
Size: 56mm diameter    MM: None

The following is an Anderson Electric Car Company Detroit Electric sill plate:

This is a Detroit Electric sill plate (c1916)   mjs
Size: 307mm wide 26mm high

The following is a Detroit Electric step plate:

This is a Detroit Electric step plate (c1918)    mjs
Size: 210mm wide 103mm high

The following is a Detroit Electric nameplate/serial plate:

This is a Detroit Electric nameplate/serial plate (c1918)  mjs
Size: 89mm wide 25mm high   

The following is a Detroit Electric patent plate. This Detroit Electric patent pale is rare.

This is a Detroit Electric patent plate (c1916)    mjs
Size: 66mm wide 33mm high

The company name was changed to the Detroit Electric Car Company in 1919 and the Detroit Electric hub emblem was changed to the design shown below. Originally, the Detroit Electric hub emblem had the letters and borders finished in polished nickel on a dull black background. This Detroit Electric hub emblem appears to have been superseded later in 1919 but reappeared in the later 1920's. This Detroit Electric hub emblem is scarce.

This is a Detroit Electric hub emblem (1919)   mjs
Size: 50mm diameter    MM: None

In 1919, some Detroit Electric models were given a false hood and Fiat style radiator and carried a radiator emblem, as shown on the following Detroit Electric brochure cover and newspaper advertisement:

Detroit Electric brochure (c1919) historicnewengland

Detroit Electric ad with rad emblem (1919) ld 

The following detail taken from a production drawing shows the Detroit Electric Fiat style radiator and emblem:

Detail drawing showing Fiat style radiator & emblem (1919)  dhc

The following Detroit Electric radiator emblem is seen on a restored Detroit Electric Model 82 from late 1920:

Detroit Electric Model 82 radiator emblem (1920)

Detroit Electric radiator emblem (1920)  rmsothebys

This is a chrome plated reproduction Detroit Electric radiator emblem. The original Detroit Electric radiator emblem had polished nickel letters and borders in a dull black background, see worn example shown below. This Detroit Electric emblem is rare.

This is a Detroit Electric radiator emblem (1919-c1925; 1930)  sam
Size: 34mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The same emblem was also used as the hub emblem, see example shown below:

This is a Detroit Electric hub emblem (c1920)   ms 

The "Detroit Electric" name was also displayed on the sill plates where fitted, see cast metal example shown below:

Detroit Electric sill plate (1926)    rmsothebys

The Detroit Electric radiator emblem seen from 1919 appears to have continued on some Detroit Electric models into the early 1930's, see the following original Detroit Electric factory photo of the 1930 Model 99 "A" and a surviving 1931 Model 99 showing the radiator emblem:

Detroit Electric Model 99 "A" with rad emblem (1930)  ghc

Detroit Electric Model 99 Coupe showing radiator emblem (1931)    sportscarmarket

This is the same Detroit Electric radiator emblem used on the Fiat style radiator in 1919 as shown earlier above.

Detroit Electric radiator emblem (1930)  ghc
Size: 34mm diameter (emblem only)    MM: Unknown

Detroit Electric models in the later 1930's did not carry a radiator emblem but continued to display the "Detroit Electric" name on the hub emblems, which were re-used from earlier cars. The surviving 1937 Detroit Electric example shown below, for example, uses hubcaps taken from an earlier Detroit Electric car:

Detroit Electric Model 99 without a radiator emblem (1937)    rmsothebys

Detroit Electric hub emblem taken from an earlier car  rmsothebys

I am grateful to Galen Handy, who holds the residual assets of the Anderson/Detroit Electric car company, and Ted Panofsky for their most helpful advice regarding Detroit Electric cars and their emblems. Any error in my interpretation of this advice is entirely down to me.