October 12, 2020


Garford Co. (1908-1915)
Elyria, Ohio
Garford Motor Truck Co. (1915-1926)
Relay Motors Co. (1927-1933)
Consolidated Motors Corp. (1933-1934)
Lima, Ohio

This is a Garford truck radiator emblem (c1928-c1933)    mjs
Size: 88mm wide 44mm high    MM: Unknown

The Garford Company grew out of the Federal Manufacturing Company which had been making automobile components since 1903. Garford then widened their operations and began to supply the industry with complete chassis, most notably to Studebaker.

Garford began building its own cars and trucks under the Garford name from 1910, apart from a brief period in 1907-1908, when Garford marketed their own cars whilst still under contract to Studebaker. Willys-Overland acquired the Garford passenger car business in 1912 and, from 1913, Garford continued as a commercial vehicle manufacturer only.

The first Garford truck produced in 1908 was a four-cylinder 5-ton capacity unit featuring chain drive, engine-under-the-seat configuration with a front panel used to display a "Garford" script on the outside and to carry instruments on the inside.

Garford initially promoted its trucks by demonstrating the financial advantages of trucks compared with the horse, It was also keen to emphasize the quality of Garford trucks with all parts manufactured by Garford, rather than being an "assembled" truck. In 1912, Garford introduced its "engine alongside the driver" arrangement and a metal driver's cab with a curved dash with headlights sunk in the dash, both of which became Garford hallmarks into the 1920s. 

By 1914, Garford was publishing sales catalogs with over 78 pages of illustrations of the full range of Garford trucks from 2-ton to 6-tons capacity. A new 1-1/2-ton worm drive model was introduced in 1915 with the engine placed under a hood but retaining the curved steel dash with its inset lights. Further models continued to be introduced and the range of Garford trucks extended from 3/4-ton to 10-ton capacity by 1916.

Garford trucks were widely used during the First World War and exported to several European countries. Garford also built about 1000 Liberty trucks in this period for the US Army. In all, Garford claimed to have built over 6,500 trucks for the US Government and its Allies. 

After the War, Garford continued to develop its heavy duty trucks but also expanded its light duty range of trucks and introduced its "speed trucks" using pneumatic tires. In the mid-1920's the Garford line included buses and coaches. But, like other smaller truck producers, Garford found it increasingly difficult to compete with the larger truck building companies 

In 1927, Garford was bought by Relay Motors (see Relay) forming a conglomerate of smaller truck companies, which also included Commerce and Service (see Service) trucks, The next new Garfords were six-cylinder trucks in the 1-ton to 4-ton range, which closely resembled Relay models. Garford truck production declined rapidly after the take-over and fell to just over a hundred units a year by 1929. Relay went into receivership in 1932 and was purchased by Consolidated Motors. 

Consolidated Motors attempted to make Garford profitable but failed to do so and it was all over for Garford by 1933.


The first 5-ton Garford trucks appearing in 1908 had the "Garford" name displayed in the form of a brass script on a front panel over the radiator, see original photo shown below:

This is a Garford 5-ton truck (1908)     dpl

Close-up showing Garford script (1908)

The following original photo from 1910 also shows the front panel mounted "Garford" script:

This is a Garford truck showing a "Garford" script (1910)   dpl

The following are examples of Garford truck hubcaps:

This is an early Garford truck hubcap (c1908)    dkc

This is a Garford hubcap (c1912-1915)    dkc

There are very few original photos or illustrations of Garford trucks from the 1910-1914 period, which clearly show emblems or nameplates. However, the very few that I have found show that, after the introduction of the new Garford truck design in 1912 with the curved steel dash and inset headlamps, some heavy trucks displayed a large cast metal "Garford" nameplate mounted on the front bumper. At the same time, some heavy trucks continued to have the "Garford" script displayed on the radiator core up to about 1918. 

The following photos from 1914, show a "Garford" bumper mounted nameplate on the lower photo and a "Garford" script in the upper photo:

Garford trucks showing different forms of identification (1914)    aaca

The new 1-1/2-ton worm drive Garford truck introduced in 1915, had a smaller "Garford" script attached to the outside body panels under the driver's bench and an oval shaped Garford emblem mounted on the front of the radiator tank top, see factory illustration shown below:

Garford 1-1/2-ton truck showing radiator emblem & side script (1915)  lktec

The oval Garford truck radiator emblem is also seen on the Garford one-ton trucks in a 1915 factory illustration, see example below:

Garford 1-ton truck showing radiator emblem & side script (1915)  

This new oval shaped Garford truck emblem is the maroon and white enamel Garford truck radiator emblem shown below. This Garford truck radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a Garford truck radiator emblem (1915-c1917)     mjs
Size: 65mm wide 46mm high    MM: None

The following is an example of the "Garford" script attached to the body sides and, previously, to the front panel or radiator grille:

This is a Garford script emblem (1908-c1918)    sam
Size: 350mm wide

The following factory illustrations of heavy duty Garford trucks from 1916 show examples of the cast "Garford" nameplate:

Garford truck showing bumper mounted nameplate (1916)  coachbuilt

Garford truck showing bumper mounted nameplate (1916)   lktec

The following is an example of a painted cast metal Garford nameplate:

This is a painted cast Garford nameplate (c1912-c1924)  mjs
Size: 373mm wide 87mm high    MM: None

There appears to have been a pressed metal variation of the Garford nameplate, which is seen mounted at the top of the radiator of a surviving Garford Model 70B 2-ton truck, see below:

This is a Garford Model 70B truck (1916)     hatm

This is a painted pressed metal Garford nameplate (1916)  hatm
Size; Unknown   

The following surviving 1917 Garford pumper has a rectangular variation of the painted pressed metal Garford nameplate but I cannot confirm that this is an original nameplate:

This is a Garford pumper with bumper nameplate (1917)  waymarking 

Close-up showing Garford nameplate (1917)   

From about 1924, some lighter duty Garford commercial vehicles had the "Garford" name impressed into the radiator tank top, see examples below:

Garford fire truck with embossed radiator nameplate (1924) flickr

Close-up showing embossed nameplate (c1924-1926)

After Garford was taken over by Relay, light and medium duty Garford trucks carried an oval shaped black enamel radiator emblem, see example shown below. This Garford radiator emblem is rare.

This is a Garford radiator emblem (c1928-1933)     mjs
Size: 88mm wide 44mm high   MM: Unknown

The following is a green enamel version of the Garford truck radiator emblem. This Garford radiator emblem is rare.

This is a Garford radiator emblem (c1928-1933)    mjs
Size: 88mm wide 44mm high    MM: Unknown

The following is a painted brass Garford hood side emblem. This Garford hood side nameplate is rare.

This is a Garford hood side nameplate (c1928-1933)    mjs
Size: 222mm wide 44mm high    MM: None

The following, unidentified Garford emblems may have been used on Garford commercials but I have no details and cannot confirm this:

This is a Garford emblem (dates unknown)     sam
Size: 60mm diameter   MM: Unknown

This is a Garford emblem (dates uncertain)     sam
Size: 54mm diameter   MM: Unknown

If you have better details of any of the Garford truck emblems shown in this post, please let me know, in order to update this post.

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