January 10, 2022


Commonwealth Motors Co. (1917-1922)

Joliet, Illinois

This is a Commonwealth radiator emblem (1918-1922)      mjs
Size:94mm wide 47mm high       MM: D L Auld

In 1915, the Commonwealth Motors Company started to manufacture the Partin-Palmer automobile after that company ran into trouble (see Partin-Palmer). In the fall of 1917, the Partin-Palmer automobile was renamed the Commonwealth and the factory relocated from Rochelle to Joliet, although some of the 1917 cars were badged Commonwealth Partin-Palmer as the transition to Commonwealth took place.

The Commonwealth was constructed with a heavy chrome nickel alloy steel frame lined with thick felt to absorb body squeaks and had a series of rivets visible along the seams of the hood as a distinguishing feature. The engines were four-cylinder initially but in 1919 a Victory Six model appeared. 1920 was the peak production year for the Commonwealth. 

Commonwealth Motors merged with the Markin Body Corporation in 1921 to build a highly successful taxicab called Checker (see Checker). The Commonwealth car was phased out in 1922.


In 1916-1917, during the transition from Partin-Palmer to Commonwealth, cars produced for the Commonwealth Motors Company displayed a blue enamel Commonwealth Partin-Palmer radiator emblem, see examples below. These Commonwealth Partin-Palmer radiator emblems are very rare.

This is a Commonwealth Partin-Palmer radiator emblem (1917)   mjs
Size: 76mm wide 30mm high      MM: Unknown

This is a Commonwealth Partin-Palmer radiator emblem (1917)  tcc
Size: 76mm wide 30mm high   MM: Childs

From 1918, the Commonwealth carried a larger white, red and blue enamel radiator emblem, see example above at the top of this post. This Commonwealth radiator emblem is rare.

But emblem collectors should beware, as there is a Pulfer reproduction of this Commonwealth radiator emblem with a flat back and no manufacturer's mark.

The Commonwealth Model 4-40 introduced in 1920 was advertised as the "Ultra-4-Forty" and was used as an export model as well as a domestic model, see advertisement shown below:

This is a Commonwealth Ultra-4-Forty ad (November 1919)  ld

The radiator emblem cannot be identified from the advertisement shown above but the 1920  Commonwealth Four-Forty brochure clearly shows the same Commonwealth radiator emblem as that shown above at the top of this post, see below:

This is a Commonwealth Four-Forty brochure (1920)  ms
However, there is a red, white and blue enamel Commonwealth Ultra 4 Forty radiator emblem, see example below. This Commonwealth Ultra Forty radiator emblem is extremely rare. This emblem may have been used on export models but I cannot confirm this.

This is a Commonwealth Ultra-4-Forty radiator emblem (1920)  sam
Size: 52mm high 49mm wide     MM: Unknown



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