June 29, 2021


Criterion Motor Co. (1907-1911)

Des Moines, Iowa; Kent, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This is a Criterion radiator script (c1910)     mjs
Size: 200mm wide

William H Kitto was an English motor car dealer, who had visited America to arrange for the exportation of US made cars to his sales company in London. In 1904 he returned to America and set up the Simplicities Automobile Company in Springfield, Massachusetts to build a four-cylinder car. He secured loans and sold stock in this company but only made one Simplicities car before he was sued. 

Kitto then moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where in 1907 he organised the Criterion Motor Company to build another four-cylinder touring car called the Criterion. He again sold stock and then moved to Kent, Ohio, where he sold more stock in his company and there are references to the Criterion being moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kitto was unsuccessfully sued for repayment of loans but in 1911 was successful in sueing Criterion stock holders who had not paid their dues. There is no documented evidence that a Criterion car was built, although it is possible that a prototype car was made and carried a Criterion script to impress potential lenders.


The brass Criterion radiator script shown above is believed to have been used on the prototype Criterion car and is extremely rare. 

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