March 11, 2023


Badger Motor Car Co. (1909-1911)

Columbus, Wisconsin

This is a Badger radiator emblem (1910-1911)     mjs
Size: 30mm diameter   MM: Unknown

E. W. Arbogast went to Columbus, Wisconsin in March 1909 and offered to build and test one high-powered car and sell it, if the town agreed to come up with the money to put the car into full production. The car was made and sold by May 1909 and the Badger Motor Car Company was established.

The first Badgers were 30 hp four-cylinder cars and were ready by late 1909. The reaction of the local trade press was very positive and said that the Badger was "Pleasing in Color, Classy in Outline, a Hill Climber with Burn". But the planned nationwide network of Badger dealers did not happen and there were also technical problems with the Badger. The local Badger company stockholders lost patience and by the autumn of 1911 the Badger was finished after a total production of only 237 cars.


The 1910 Badger brochure shows the Badger radiator with a large "Badger" script located off-center on the radiator core but with no radiator emblem, see below. Original "Badger" radiator scripts of this kind are very rare.

This is a Badger brochure showing a radiator script (1910)     sfam

The first Badger cars were ready by late 1909 and may have had a large brass radiator script and no emblem, as shown in the 1910 brochure, but I cannot confirm this. Badger cars produced in 1910, however, did display a radiator emblem.

The following photo shows a 1910 Badger touring car with an enamel radiator emblem and a small brass radiator script on display at the Wisconsin Auto Museum:

This is a Badger touring car (1910)     hcg

The following photos show the radiator emblem and radiator script in more detail:

This is a Badger radiator emblem (1910)     wam
Size: 64mm diameter     MM: Unknown

The Badger radiator emblem shown above is finished in an unusual red/pink and blue enamel and there is some discoloration, indicating that this emblem may have been restored, although this is not confirmed. This Badger radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a brass Badger radiator script (1910)      wam

The brass radiator script shown above is much smaller than the script shown on the Badger brochure and has a different style of lettering. If this Badger radiator script is original, it would be very rare.  

The smaller blue and white enamel Badger radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post is also extremely rare.

A Badger advertisement from 1911 shows a "Badger" script and a logo, which appears to be similar to a radiator emblem with a badger in the center, see below:

This is a Badger advertisement (1911)   ms

I cannot confirm that a radiator emblem with a badger in the center was ever used by Badger. If you have details of this emblem, please let me know in order to update this post.

My thanks to Dawn Bondhus for providing photos of the emblems on the 1910 Badger car displayed at the Wisconsin Auto Museum.

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