February 19, 2021


Crawford Automobile Co. (1904-1923)

Hagerstown, Maryland

This is a Crawford radiator emblem (c1920-1923)     mjs
Size: 58mm diameter   MM: Fox

The Crawford Automobile Company was formed in 1904 by pipe organ maker, Mathias Peter Moller, bicycle builder, Robert S. Crawford and another Hagerstown business man. A small number of 10 hp two-cylinder runabouts were built in 1904 and 1905. A 24/28 hp four-cylinder touring car was introduced in 1906 and the two-cylinder model was dropped at the end of that year. A 45 hp six-cylinder car appeared in 1913. From 1916 all Crawford cars were six-cylinder models.

The annual production of Crawford cars was never very large and, perhaps because of this, the company managed to survive through the material shortages following the First World War. The Crawford Automobile Company also produced a few trucks between 1911 and 1917.

In 1921, Moller became the sole owner of the company and in 1922 he introduced a new car called the Dagmar, named for his daughter (see Dagmar). Only 54 Crawford cars were built in 1922 and the last Crawford cars were assembled in 1923.


Early Crawford cars did not carry an emblem but did display a Crawford maker's nameplate, see example shown below. This Crawford maker's nameplate is very rare.

This is a Crawford maker's nameplate (c1904)      mjs
Size: 78mm wide 37mm high

Original period photos from 1907 of Crawford cars at a trade show, show a small plate mounted at the top of the radiator, see example shown below. This plate may be a Crawford nameplate but it is not the same shape as the nameplate shown above.

Crawford car at trade show (1907)   dpl

The fact that the cars at this 1907 trade show display a temporary "Crawford" sign suggests that a "Crawford" radiator script did not exist at that time, which seems to be confirmed by the lack of a "Crawford" script or logo in Crawford advertisements for 1907 and earlier, see example shown below:

Crawford advertisement (1907)   ebay

However, the following period photo dated "c1907" shows a Crawford race car with a large radiator script suggesting that the "Crawford" radiator script appeared in late 1907 or in 1908. 

Crawford race car showing radiator script (c1907)   dpl

This large Crawford radiator script continued in use until at least 1909, see original period photo shown below. Original Crawford radiator scripts are rare.

Crawford car showing nameplate & radiator script (c1909)  dpl

By 1910, the Crawford script had reduced in size, see the original Munsey Historic Tour photo below which has a small "Crawford" script in the top left corner of the radiator:

Crawford car on Munsey Historic Tour with small radiator script (1910)  dpl

By 1911, an even smaller Crawford script was mounted on the front of the radiator tank top, see the following original period photo of Crawford cars at a trade show:

Crawford cars at trade show with script radiator emblem (1911)  dpl

The following blue, white and red enamel, oval-shaped Crawford radiator emblem is believed to be the first Crawford radiator emblem and is very rare. This Crawford radiator emblem may have been first used on the six-cylinder touring car introduced in 1913 but I cannot confirm this absolutely.   

This is a Crawford radiator emblem (c1913-1919)     mjs
Size: 78mm wide 47mm high    MM: Unknown (some Childs)

The following black painted Crawford radiator emblem may have been used on some of the few Crawford trucks produced between 1913 and 1917 but I cannot confirm this. This Crawford radiator emblem is also very rare.

This may be a Crawford truck radiator emblem (1911-1917)     mjs
Size: 89mm wide 54mm high    MM: None

In about 1920, the Crawford radiator emblem was changed to the brightly colored enamel circular emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. This Crawford radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Crawford radiator emblem (c1920-1923)   mjs
Size: 58mm diameter   MM: Fox

Emblem collectors should beware as there are reproduction copies of this Crawford radiator emblem, which are poorer quality and have shiny backs with no maker's mark. 

If you can help by confirming the dates of use of any of the Crawford emblems shown above, please let me know, in order to update this post.

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