May 08, 2018


Thomas B Jeffery & Co. (1902-1910)

Thomas B Jeffery Co. (1910-1913)

Kenosha, Wisconsin

This is a Rambler hub face showing the Rambler script logo (c1908)    mjs
Size: 51mm diameter  

In the late 1890's Thomas B Jeffery and R Philip Gormully operated the second largest bicycle manufacturer in America after Colonel Albert Pope and their bicycle was called the Rambler. In 1897 Thomas Jeffery built an experimental single-cylinder gasoline car and in 1898 his son Charles Jeffery built two more motor cars. These cars were displayed at automobile shows in Chicago and New York in 1900. 

When Philip Gormully died Thomas Jeffery decided to sell the bicycle business and to go into the automobile business with a new factory in Kenosha keeping the Rambler name. The first new Rambler appeared in 1902 and was a 4 hp, single-cylinder runabout. It was a lovely, well made car at a low price and 1,500 were produced in the first year.  For the 1904 model year, some 16 hp two-cylinder models were introduced with front-mounted engines and wheel steering. Sales had increased to nearly 4,000 cars by 1905 when a four-cylinder model was introduced with engines rated up to 40 hp. Delivery vans were also produced by Rambler. The Rambler was now an industry leader and the Kenosha factory was the largest and best equipped in America.

In 1910 Thomas Jeffery died and the company was reorganized as Thomas B Jeffery Company with Charles Jeffery at its head. Production was increased and names were added to Rambler models. In 1914 the Rambler name was dropped and a new car called the Jeffery was introduced in memory of Thomas Jeffery (see Jeffery).


The earliest single-cylinder Rambler models did not display an emblem or a nameplate. 

From 1904, the two-cylinder Ramblers did display the Rambler name on nameplates attached the the front of the dash board, see example shown below.  This Rambler nameplate is rare.

This is a Rambler nameplate displayed on the front of the dash (1904)     sam
Size: 90mm wide 40mm high

Some models also displayed the Rambler name on a nameplate attached to the metal frame along the side of the hood, see example shown below. This Rambler nameplate is very rare.

This is a Rambler nameplate attached to the side hood frame (1904)     sam

The Rambler name was also displayed on the hub caps, similar to the example shown above at the top of this post, and to the step plate, see example shown below:

This is a Rambler step plate (1904)     sam

Early Rambler cars also had a serial plate, see example below. This early Rambler serial plate is very rare.

This is a Rambler serial plate (c1905)     mjs
Size: 78mm wide 31mm high

A Rambler advertisement for 1906 appears to show a radiator emblem but without any clear detail, see example below:

Rambler ad showing a radiator emblem (1906)   ms

The original photos of Rambler cars shown below show two similar but slightly different radiator emblems. The first may be from about 1906. 

This is a Rambler car with a radiator emblem (c1906)      hcg

Close up showing the radiator emblem (c1906)     hcg

The second original photo shows a radiator emblem and the well known cast brass radiator script, which was used for many years from 1907.

This is a Rambler car with a radiator emblem and radiator script (c1907)    hcg

Close up showing the radiator emblem and script (c1907)    hcg

The following photo shows an original Rambler radiator emblem similar to those shown in the above photos. This Rambler radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a Rambler radiator emblem (c1906/1907)     mjs
Size: 190mm wide 60mm high

Original brass Rambler radiator scripts, as shown in the original photo above or as shown below, are scarce:

This is a Rambler radiator script (c1907-1913)      ms
Size: Various (examples 258mm & 350mm wide)

The Rambler name was also displayed on the sill plates on some models, probably from about 1906, but I cannot confirm a date, see example shown below:

This is a pair of Rambler sill plates (c1906)     rjc
Size: 340mm wide 44mm high

I have not seen a radiator emblem on a Rambler car later than about 1908 but it is possible that a radiator emblem was used on some Rambler models. However, the Rambler radiator script was used at least on some Rambler models through to 1913.

From 1910, the Rambler nameplate was changed to reflect the new company name, see example below. This Rambler nameplate is very rare.

This is a Rambler nameplate (c1910-1913)     mjs
Size: 96mm wide 47mm high

The very small Rambler script shown below has solder on the back was used as a lapel pin or a stick-pin. This Rambler script emblem is very rare.

This is a Rambler script emblem (date unknown)     mjs
Size: 50mm wide      MM: Childs


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