April 07, 2020


Columbus Buggy Co. (1909-1914)

New Columbus Buggy Co. (1914-1915)

Columbus, Ohio

This is a Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem (c1912-1913)     ms
Size: 78mm wide 56mm high    MM: Robbins

The Columbus Buggy Company had introduced the Columbus Electric in 1903, to be followed by the Columbus highwheeler in 1907. The Columbus highwheeler was discontinued in 1909 when the Firestone-Columbus was introduced. The new car was designed by Lee Frayer and was named after Clinton DeWitt Firestone, who was the Columbus Buggy Company president.

The first Firestone-Columbus in 1909 was a 35 hp four-cylinder baby tonneau and was well received and about 500 were produced in the first year. A larger 36 hp four-cylinder Series 6 appeared for 1910 together with a 24/25 hp four-cylinder Series 7, both being offered in a wide variety of body styles. A 60 hp six-cylinder model was added to the line for 1913.

The Firestone-Columbus achieved some useful marketing publicity through success in races with Eddie Rickenbacker at the wheel. Improvements were made to the Firestone-Columbus cars continually as they were produced rather than at the time of introducing a new model year.  The business seemed to be going well and production reached 2,000 a year by 1912. But, there were financial problems and damage caused by the severe flooding resulted in the company running out of cash in 1913.

In February 1914, Clinton Firestone was found dead, a victim of apoplexy or a massive stroke. The company was sold and reorganized as the New Columbus Buggy Company. A small production of Firestone-Columbus cars continued with new models from 1914 until all production, including the Columbus Electric, ceased in 1915.


The first Firestone-Columbus cars appearing in 1909 most likely displayed a brass "Firestone-Columbus" script attached to the radiator core. 

The following Firestone-Columbus radiator script is believed to have been used in 1909 but I cannot confirm this. This Firestone-Columbus radiator script is extremely rare.

This is a Firestone-Columbus radiator script (c1909)     sam
Size: 200mm wide 127mm high

The following Firestone-Columbus radiator script was used from 1910. Original Firestone-Columbus radiator scripts of this design are rare.

This is a Firestone-Columbus radiator script (1910-1914)     sam
Size: 228mm wide 100mm high

This Firestone-Columbus radiator script was first shown in the Motor Age magazine in September 1910 and appears in a factory illustration in the 1910 brochure for the Firestone-Columbus Extension Front Landaulet Model 65-A, see below:

This Model 65-A factory illustration shows the radiator script and an emblem (1910)   sfam 

Note that the above illustration from the 1910 Firestone-Columbus brochure also depicts a radiator emblem consisting of the entwined letters "F" and "C", see close up below:

This close up shows the Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem    sfam

I believe this illustration depicts an accurate representation of the first Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem, because the Firestone-Columbus radiator script is accurately represented and later brochures from 1913 accurately depict the radiator emblem shown at the top of this post. However, I have never seen this Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem in reality. If indeed it does exist, it would be ultra rare.

The 1910 Firestone-Columbus brochure also includes an illustration for the Model 7-A Gentlemen's Runabout, which shows a round radiator emblem, see below:

This is a Firestone-Columbus Md 7-A brochure illustration (1910)   sfam

Close-up showing a round radiator emblem and a radiator script (1910)

The Model 7-A Gentleman's Runabout did not appear in 1911 but the same Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem is clearly seen on another model in an original trade fair photo from 1911, see below:

This is a Firestone-Columbus showing radiator emblem (1911)     dpl

This round radiator emblem is the white and maroon enamel Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem shown below. This is the only example of this emblem that I have seen and is extremely rare. 

This is a Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem (possibly late 1910-1911)    mjs
Size: 63mm diameter    MM: Unknown

The dark blue and white enamel Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem depicting the explorer Christopher Columbus, shown above at the top of this post, is much admired by collectors and, although I have seen several examples of this emblem, it is very rare. This Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem was certainly in use by 1913 and may have been first used in about 1912 but I cannot confirm this.

I have not seen a Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem for use on the few cars built by the New Columbus Buggy Company in 1914-1915. If you have details of such an emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post. Such a Firestone-Columbus radiator emblem would be extremely rare.

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