April 01, 2017


Elkhart Carriage & Harness Manufacturing Co. (1908-1915) 

Pratt Motor Car Co. (1915)

Elkhart, Indiana

This is a Pratt-Elkhart radiator emblem (c1910-1911)   ms
Size: Unknown
    MM: Unknown

The Elkhart Carriage & Harness Manufacturing Company was run by the Pratt brothers and was a big and successful business by the early 1900's. The Pratt brothers took an interest in motor vehicle manufacture and began to experiment with a motorized buggy in 1906. The first Pratt motor buggy appeared in late 1908 and production then continued until at least 1911, when the motor buggy was no longer shown in Pratt catalogs or advertisements.

The Pratt-Elkhart four-cylinder automobile was in production from late in 1909 until 1911. In 1911 the car was renamed the Pratt.

The Pratt was an expensive high quality automobile initially offered as a 30/35 hp four-cylinder car in a variety of body styles with the Pratt Forty appearing in 1912. A wider range of four-cylinder engine sizes was offered in 1913 but sales were limited. In 1914 a single 50 hp model was offered and a six-cylinder model was introduced in 1915 when the company briefly changed its name to the Pratt Motor Car Company. But there was another change of mind later in 1915 when the company was reorganized as the Elkhart Carriage & Motor Car Company to manufacture an entirely new car called the Elcar (see Elcar).

Total Pratt production was 898 cars.


Pratt motor buggies had no emblem but continued to use the small maker's tags attached to the lower rear crosspiece on the body as used on the horse drawn buggies and carriages built by the Elkhart Carriage & Harness Manufacturing Company, except for a two digit serial number, see example below:

This is an Elkhart Carriage & Harness Mfg. Company motor buggy tag (c1906)   ms

The first Pratt-Elkhart automobiles from late 1909 also had no emblem or script to identify the vehicle but the Pratt Elkhart name was shown on the hub caps and there was likely to have been a serial plate but this is not confirmed. 

Sometime during 1910 or 1911, it appears that some Pratt-Elkhart automobiles began to carry an enamel radiator emblem and a brass script attached to the radiator core, see photo below and at the top of this post. However, the Pratt-Elkhart factory did not list the radiator emblem or the script as accessory items and these devices were not shown in photos or other factory illustrations at the time.

This is the front of a Pratt Forty Model F showing a radiator emblem and script (c1911)   ms

The orignal Pratt-Elkhart brass radiator script shown below is rare. The Pratt-Elkhart radiator emblem shown at the top of this post is extremely rare. 

This is a Pratt Elkhart radiator script (c1910-1911)    mjs
Size: 393mm wide

Pratt factory literature and vehicle photos from early 1912 still did not show a radiator emblem but the Pratt Forty name was displayed on the hub caps and on a manufacturer's serial plate, see examples below:

This is a Pratt Forty hub cap (1912)   mjs

This is a Pratt Forty serial plate (1912)    mjs

The "Pratt" name was also used on the foot pedal castings on most Pratt automobiles from 1912.

An enamel "Pratt 40" radiator emblem appeared in late 1912 or early 1913. These emblems have "Pratt 40" in white on a black background. There is also a similar emblem with a dark maroon background and a dark blue background has been recorded. These radiator emblems are very rare, see examples below:

This is a Pratt 40 radiator emblem (c1912)    mjs
Size: 76mm wide 54mm high   MM: None 

This is a Pratt 40 radiator emblem (1912)    ms
Size: 76mm wide 54mm high   MM: Unknown

There was a similar radiator emblem for the Pratt 30 in 1912 and for the Pratt 50 in 1914. The Pratt 50 emblem was changed to dark "Pratt 50" letters over a white background for 1915. I do not have photos of these emblems. These emblems are extremely rare.

Also for 1914 and 1915, there was a radiator emblem with the word "Pratt" in white enamel over a blue enamel background but I do not have a photo of this emblem. Several of these emblems have been recorded but it is not clear what models carried the emblem, as original photos or factory illustrations showing this emblem have not been found. Original Pratt radiator emblems of this design are very rare.

Emblem collectors should beware, however, as there are reproduction emblems with this design, see the deep brown enamel example shown below. There is also a red enamel version of this reproduction emblem.

This is a reproduction Pratt radiator emblem     ms

The emblem design shown above and the Pratt 50 emblem were the last emblems used on Pratt motor cars.

The dates attributed to the emblems shown above are based on the work of auto historian William S Locke, see References page.

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