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 (see 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

In 1916, there was a new Briscoe emblem for at least some models. The 1916 Briscoe Model 8-38 shown in Briscoe company advertisements and brochures had a large feature at the top of the radiator which acts as a radiator emblem mount, see brochure and newspaper advertisement illustrations shown below:

Briscoe 38 Clover Leaf Roadster with a radiator emblem (1916)   ms

Briscoe ad showing 8-38 Tourer (Oct 1916)

Ad detail showing radiator emblem & mount (1916)

I have not seen a photo or clear illustration of the Briscoe 8-38 showing the radiator and radiator emblem but the following photo shows what I believe is the 8-38 radiator with an elaborate mount for a dog-bone shaped emblem:

This is a Briscoe 8-38 radiator (1916)      khc

Close-up showing the dog-bone radiator emblem mount

The following are examples of dog-bone shaped Briscoe emblems, finished in different colored enamels. These Briscoe dog-bone shaped radiator emblems are extremely rare and were most likely only used in 1916 and possibly then only for the eight-cylinder models, although I cannot confirm this.
This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (1916)     sam
Size: 73mm wide 31mm high    MM: Unknown

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (1916)     sam
Size: 73mm wide 31mm high    MM: Unknown

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

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (1916)      kmc
Size:Unknown     MM: Unknown

This is a Briscoe radiator emblem (1916)     kmc
73mm wide 31mm high    MM: None

The several different color variations of the Briscoe dog-bone radiator emblem may indicate that some of the examples shown were trial emblems. I do not know the colors of the emblem finally used on production models. My guess would be the blue, white and red example shown earlier above, as these were the colors used for the Briscoe emblem that appeared in 1917, see later below. If you have any further evidence regarding the use of Briscoe dog-bone radiator emblems, please let me know, in order to update this post. 

Interestingly, these dog-bone shaped Briscoe radiator emblems are exactly the same shape and size as some of the dog-bone radiator emblems used on Chandler motor cars from about 1914 (see Chandler) but I am unaware of any links between Briscoe and Chandler. 

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 and again below. This Briscoe radiator emblem is rare.

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

The Briscoe fleur-de-lis emblem has also been seen in the form of a decal applied to the top of the radiator, see well worn example shown below. Decal radiator emblems were used by some other motor car manufacturers in the c1917 period.

Briscoe radiator with a decal emblem (c1917)  pcc

The following Briscoe emblem is quite unique. It is a white and red enamel emblem in the form of a business card and was included in an early radiator emblem collection made in the 1920's and early 1930's, so is believed to be 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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