January 17, 2020


Briscoe Motor Corp. (1914-1921)

Jackson, Michigan

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (1917-1921)     mjs
Size: 81mm high 63mm wide    MM: Cady & Staff

The Briscoe Motor Corporation was established by Benjamin Briscoe following his departure from Maxwell-Briscoe and the collapse of his United States Motor Company. The Briscoe car made its debut at the New York Automobile Show in January 1914 and was a medium-priced four-cylinder car with an unusual cyclops headlight in the radiator grille. The car also had a compressed papier-mache body, which was very odd.

From 1916 the Briscoe became more like a typical American tourer car with the choice of either a four-cylinder or a V-8 engine. In 1920 Briscoe came up with a plan to simplify production by changing the detailed design to make manufacture simpler and cheaper. The idea may have been good but it proved to be a disaster. Benjamin Briscoe gave up in late 1921 and handed the business over to Clarence A. Earl, who continued to build the Briscoe from parts on hand but then started to make a new car called the Earl.

Briscoe also made commercial vehicles from 1915 to 1921. Initially a 1/2-tonner was offered using a Briscoe passenger car chassis. For 1918 a 1-tonner was also built and was the only type made for 1920-1921.


The first Briscoe Model B cars in 1914-1915 had distinctive cyclops headlights, so hardly required further identification. However, these vehicles carried a similarly distinctive Briscoe crown radiator cap and hub caps, and a small Briscoe nameplate located at the bottom of the radiator shell, see photo below:

This is a Briscoe Model B radiator (1915)   sjb4photos

The Briscoe radiator nameplate is very rare, see example below:

This is a Briscoe Model B nameplate (1914-1915)     mjs
Size: 114mm wide 25mm high    MM: None

The following photo shows a Briscoe crown hub cap, which is similar to the crown radiator cap:                                                                 

This is a Briscoe crown hub cap (1914-c1920)    mjs

I cannot confirm whether the Briscoe radiator script shown above on the cyclops radiator is original. However, the Briscoe radiator script shown below appears to be original.

This is a Briscoe radiator script (c1915)     ms

The Briscoe 38 Clover-Leaf Roadster of 1916 shown in Briscoe company advertisements and brochures appears to have a large device at the top of the radiator which may be a radiator emblem, but I cannot confirm this.

This is an illustration of the Briscoe 38 showing a possible radiator emblem (1916)   ms

If you have details about this emblem, please let me know, so that this post can be updated.

From 1917, the Briscoe carried a blue, white and red enamel radiator emblem in the form of a fleur-de-lis with the word "BRISCOE" across the front, as shown above at the top of this post. This Briscoe radiator emblem is rare.

There are some other, unusual Briscoe radiator emblems that are a mystery to me.

The following dog-bone shaped Briscoe emblems, finished in colored enamel, are identical in shape and size to some similarly brighly colored Chandler radiator emblems (see Chandler). However, I am unaware of any links between Briscoe and Chandler. The Chandler dog-bone radiator emblems were used between 1914 and 1927 but I can find no information regarding the use of dog-bone emblems on Briscoe cars.

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (date unknown)     sam
Size: 73mm wide 31mm high    MM: Unknown

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (dates unknown)     sam
Size: 73mm wide 31mm high    MM: Unknown

However, these dog-bone Briscoe radiator emblems are in the Swigart Auto Museum emblem collection and both appear to be genuine. The red, white and blue enamel version shown above is included in an emblem collection assembled in the 1930's and probably earlier and is most unlikely to be a reproduction. These Briscoe dog-bone radiator emblems are extremely rare.

The following similar dog-bone Briscoe radiator emblems have also been found but I am unaware of their provenance:

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (dates unknown)      kmc
Size:Unknown     MM: Unknown

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (dates unknown)     kmc
73mm wide 31mm high    MM: None

Until evidence of the use of these dog-bone emblems on Briscoe cars is found, my best guess is that the makers of the Chandler dog-bone emblems made sample Briscoe dog-bone emblems, which were not used. This may have been at the time when Briscoe decided to use the fleur-de-lis emblem in 1917.  

The following Briscoe emblem is quite unique. It is a white and red enamel emblem in the form of a business card and was part of another early radiator emblem collection made in the 1920's and early 1930's, so is a genuine Briscoe emblem. Note that the word "Briscoe" is in the same style as the "Briscoe" radiator script shown earlier. I have no information about the use or dates of use of this Briscoe emblem, which may be ultra rare.

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (dates unknown)     sam
Size: 78mm wide 44mm high     MM: Unknown

If you have further information about these or any other Briscoe emblems, please do let me know, in order to update this post.

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