January 06, 2017


Safety Motor Co. (1917)

Grenloch, New Jersey

Camden Motors Corp. (1917-1922)

Collingswood, New Jersey

This is a Frontmobile maker's nameplate (c1918)   mjs
Size: 78mm wide 40mm high

C H Blomstrom was the designer of the Frontmobile, which had front wheel drive and so many novel features with patents pending that the car was very complicated. The Safety Motor Company was established in 1916 by the Bateman Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of farm machinery and equipment, and the Frontmobile was built in the Bateman factory in Grenloch, New Jersey. Production at Grenloch was limited to one roadster and one touring car both of which were exhibited at the New York Auto Show in 1917. Neither of these cars survives. 

The Safety Motor Company was closed down and a new company, Camden Motors Corporation, was established in Camden, New Jersey in June 1917 with a factory in West Collingswood and the active support of the Batemans. Limited production began in 1917 but the company closed in 1922 after making only about five cars, one of which is extant, and a farm truck, at least two of which were built.

The Frontmobile truck was a 3/4-ton capacity model powered by a Golden, Belknap and Swartz four-cylinder engine and using half-elliptic spring suspension. The truck incorporated many of the features of the Frontmobile passenger car.  


The Frontmobile did not carry an emblem on the radiator, see the Grenloch factory illustration shown below:

Frontmobile factory illustration (1917)

The "Frontmobile" name would have been displayed on a small brass nameplate mounted on the dash or under the driver's seat. I have not seen a Frontmobile nameplate from the Safety Motor Company for the cars made in Grenloch but it would surely have incorporated the Frontmobile trademark, see Frontmobile roadster catalog illustration shown below:

Frontmobile Trademark (1917)   craiglist j klein

After the change to Camden Motors Corporation later in 1917, the Frontmobile nameplate was changed to reflect the new company, see example shown below from the only surviving Frontenac now on display at the National Auto Museum in Reno:

Frontmobile nameplate (1917)      ms

An example of the brass Frontmobile nameplate displayed on cars built by Camden Motors Corporation is shown above at the top of this post and again below. This Frontmobile nameplate is believed to be original and is rare.

This is a Frontmobile maker's nameplate (c1918)   mjs
Size: 78mm wide 40mm high

Emblem collectors should beware as there are reproduction Frontmobile nameplates.

The following original period photo from a Frontmobile farm truck brochure shows the 3/4-ton Frontmobile truck, which has an emblem mounted on the front of the cast ribbed radiator tank top:

Frontmobile farm truck showing rad emblem (c1918)   flickr j klein

The following original period photo shows what appears to be another Frontmobile farm truck. The radiator emblem is similar to the shape of the Frontmobile trademark, although the detailed design is unclear. 

Frontmobile farm truck with radiator emblem (c1920)  grenloch terrace

Close up showing radiator & emblem

If you have better details or a photo of the Frontmobile truck radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post. An original Frontmobile truck radiator emblem would be extremely rare and possibly ultra rare.

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