October 19, 2023


Birch Motor Cars, Inc. (1916-1923)

Chicago, Illinois

This is a Birch radiator emblem (c1921-1923)    mjs
Size: 90mm wide 41mm high    MM: None

Birch cars were assembled cars sold by direct mail order only, mainly through magazine advertisements. The car was named after Ralph Birchard, who was not only President of Birch Motor Cars but also President of Birch Motor College, where some car assembly was carried out by its students, although most production was undertaken by established motor car companies, including Crow-Elkhart of Indiana and Seneca of Ohio.

The first Birch car appeared in 1916 and was a 19.6 hp four-cylinder touring model with a roadster model added in 1917. A 21.6 hp six-cylinder touring model was added to the line in 1918 and the range of body styles increased significantly by 1921. From 1921 to 1922 there were only two models, a four and a six. For 1923 two models were offered but both were four-cylinder models. All production of the Birch ended in 1923. 

It is not known how many Birch cars were actually built and sold but it is not believed to be many. 


The only photos of Birch cars that I can find are those used in Birch advertisements and in Birch sales literature, most of which used cheaply produced magazine quality material and most of the photos lack clarity in detail.

The following original photo from a Birch advertisement shows Ralph Birchard driving a Birch car displaying the "Birch" name in some kind of script on the radiator top, presumably meant only for the publicity photo.

Ralph Birchard in a Birch showing a radiator script emblem  ebay

A triangular shaped, mainly white radiator emblem is seen in original period photos of Birch cars shown in Birch advertising and in Birch catalogs, see examples shown below:

Birch Four showing triangular radiator emblem (1916)  ebay

Birch Super Four with triangular radiator emblem (1920)  ebay 

The following stills taken from a 1918 Birch advertising film show the triangular Birch radiator emblem in better detail:

Birch radiator emblem (1918)  ebay

Although not very clear from these photos, this triangular Birch radiator emblem is also inscribed "CHICAGO USA".

It appears that the triangular Birch radiator emblem was used from the start of production in 1916 to at least 1920, when the post War recession started and which probably led to the demise of the Birch. However, I have never seen a triangular Birch radiator emblem nor seen such an emblem in photos of early collections of American auto emblems. Presumably very few of these Birch cars were built. The triangular Birch radiator emblem is, therefore, extremely rare. 

If you have this triangular Birch radiator emblem or a better photo, please let me know, in order to update this post.

The maroon and white enamel Birch radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post, and again below, is the emblem most frequently found in early American emblem collections and is shown on the Eaton wall chart of American emblems. This Birch radiator emblem is rare.

This is a Birch radiator emblem (c1921-1923)   mjs
ze: 90mm wide 42mm high    MM: None

This Birch radiator emblem has not been seen in original period photos of Birch motor cars and is usually found in unused condition. This suggests that the emblem may have been produced after 1920, when the triangular Birch emblem was still in use, and may have been the last Birch radiator emblem used on the final few Birch cars produced before the company closed in 1923, although I cannot confirm this. If you have better information about this Birch radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post.

The following variation of the Birch radiator emblem shown above may also be original but, as yet, this cannot be confirmed. If this emblem is original it would be extremely rare: 

This appears to be a Birch radiator emblem (c1921-1923)  tcc
Size: 90mm wide 43mm high      MM: None

If you have better details of any Birch radiator emblems, please let me know, in order to update this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment