December 23, 2017


Kelsey Motor Co. (1920-1924)

Newark, New Jersey

This is a Kelsey radiator emblem (1922-1924)     mjs
Size: 82mm wide 72mm high overall    MM: Unknown

Carl Kelsey built his first car in 1897 and a year later, together with a friend, he built his second car called the Autotri (see Autotri). Carl Kelsey built a two-cylinder four-wheel model in 1901 and a four-cylinder model in 1902. Kelsey then became a highly successful salesman for Maxwell-Briscoe. He decided to try again at automobile manufacture and built the Spartan prototype in 1910 and the three-wheeled Motorette of which 210 were built between 1911 and 1914.

Carl Kelsey then dropped out of car production and went into banking for a few years but he was back again by 1916 when he designed a novel automobile with friction transmission. The First World War intervened but in 1920 the Kelsey Motor Company was established. A Kelsey car was demonstrated in 1921 pulling a seven-ton steam roller along the streets of Newark. 

Production began in 1922 and things seemed to be going well but early in 1924 Carl Kelsey was pressured by investors into closing down the plant. A total of 600 Kelsey cars were built.


The Kelsey radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post displays a representation of Kelsey's special friction-drive. This Kelsey radiator emblem is rare.

The enamel Kelsey emblem shown below is a strange design and it is not clear how and where it was used. This Kelsey emblem is very rare. If you have any further information about this emblem, please let me know in order to update this post.

This is a Kelsey emblem (date unknown)     mjs
Size: 79mm wide 56mm high    MM: Fox

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