February 11, 2021

MENOMINEE TRUCK

D. F. Poyer & Co. (1909-1911)

D. F. Poyer Co. (1911-1916)
Menominee Motor Truck Co. (1916-1919)

Menominee, Michigan

Menominee Motor Truck Co. of Wisconsin 
Menominee, Michigan (1919-1920)

Clintonville, Wisconsin (1920-1929)
Utility Supply Co., subsid. FWD Auto Drive Co. (1929-1937)
Clintonville, Wisconsin


This is a reproduction Menominee Truck radiator emblem  kmc
Size: 76.2mm (3 in ) diameter

D. F. ("Duff") Poyer began his automotive career selling automobiles in Menominee, Michigan in 1901. He had an idea to build a light-duty truck by fitting a flat-bed to a Winton automobile that he took in trade for a new car. He built two additional trucks in the same fashion and used all three for the business. These trucks worked so well that local merchants and farmers wanted trucks for themselves. With backing from local businessmen, "Duff" established the D. F. Poyer & Company in 1909 to manufacture the Menominee Motor Truck. The company name was changed to D. F. Poyer Company in 1911.

The D. F. Poyer Company first began building trucks in a newly built brick building, known even until recent times as Poyer's Garage, on Main Street in Menominee. The Menominee Truck business was successful and a factory was built in 1911. "The Menominee" was an assembled truck and used the best components available and were reputedly of superior quality. The first Menominee Trucks were 3/4-ton and 1-ton capacity models and by 1913 a 1-1/2-ton capacity model was also available. These were the only models built until 1916 and were sold as far away as California, New York and Europe.

In April 1916, "Duff" Poyer's investor partners bought out his interest in the company he founded and established the Menominee Motor Truck Company. Manufacturing continued in the Menominee, Michigan factory. By the summer of 1916, five models were manufactured, 3/4-, 1-, 1-1/2-, 2-, and 3-1/2-ton. By mid to late 1917, a 5-ton model was added, and manufacturing expanded into a new factory in the former Richardson Shoe Factory building in Menominee, Michigan. 

In October 1919, a new group of investors from Clintonville, Wisconsin, bought out the Menominee Motor Truck Company and the name was formally changed to the Menominee Motor Truck Company of Wisconsin. Truck manufacturing continued in Menominee, Michigan until August 1920, when the company moved the factory to Clintonville, Wisconsin. A 1-ton speed truck called the "Hurryton" was introduced in late 1919 and the Hurryton chassis was also used for a series of bus models. By 1923, Menominee Motor Truck Company of Wisconsin was advertising a new series of trucks and busses from light-duty to heavy-duty, including truck models ranging from 1-ton to 6-ton capacity, as well as 20-passenger and 25-passenger bus chassis. Menominee Truck production, however, remained relatively small scale.

In 1929, the Menominee Motor Truck Company of Wisconsin was acquired by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company under its Utility Supply Company arm and Menominee Trucks continued to be built in Clintonville. Under the Utility Supply Company name, the Menominee chassis were used to produce pole trailers, larger trucks and the Hurryton. In 1932, Menominee Truck models ranged from 1-1/2-ton to 8-ton capacity together with three bus chassis up to 35-passengers. A new line of six-cylinder vehicles was introduced in 1933. By 1937, the plant ceased production of trucks and concentrated on producing bodies for FWD. The Menominee name was discontinued at the end of 1937.

Emblems

There is very limited detailed information available about the early years of the Menominee Truck.

The first illustrations of Menominee trucks that I have seen are shown in advertisements from 1913. The following advertisement, for example, shows the three Menominee truck range offered as the 1914 truck line:

The 1914 Menominee truck ad (1913)   ebay

This advertisement also shows a round D. F. Poyer Company Menominee truck logo with an open winged eagle, which lacks any detail, see logo shown below. This Menominee truck logo is believed to have been used for company letterheads, where the eagle was embossed to give detail. The logo may have been used before 1913, possibly as early as 1911, although I cannot confirm this.

D. F. Poyer Company Menominee truck logo (c1913)   ms

The earliest confirmation of a Menominee Truck radiator emblem, that I have found, is in the following 1914 advertisement for "The Menominee" Truck, which shows a fleet of Menominee Trucks with round radiator emblems:

This is a Menominee truck ad showing radiator emblem (1914)  ma

The detail of the Menominee radiator emblem cannot be seen from this advertisement but the following original photo of a Menominee Truck radiator shows the emblem in more detail. This photo was taken during a demonstration of a pneumatic isolator, designed to absorb radiator vibrations, which was patented in December 1915.

Menominee truck showing the radiator emblem (c1915)   tpc

Close-up showing the radiator emblem (c1915)

A surviving Menominee Truck from about 1915 still carries an original emblem, which is in the form of a colored decal, no doubt used to minimise cost, see photo shown below:

Menominee Truck decal emblem (c1915) tpc

This c1915 Menominee Truck decal emblem is displayed on the rear differential and the same decal is also seen on the rear differential and the bed side boards in the following original photo of the rear of another Menominee Truck taken between 1912 and 1914:

Menominee Truck with decal emblems on rear differential & bed side boards (c1912-1914) tpc

Based on this evidence and the fact that, to date, no early Menominee Truck radiator emblem has been found, it is believed that the Menominee Truck radiator emblem shown earlier above was also a colored decal emblem.

This Menominee truck radiator decal emblem is known to have been in use in 1914, as seen in the original Menominee Truck photo shown earlier above  but the emblem may have been used earlier, possibly as early as 1912, or even before, although I cannot confirm this. This Menominee truck radiator decal emblem continued to be used into 1916.

The design of this Menominee Truck radiator decal emblem cannot be seen in sharp detail from the original photo from 1914 but it is clearly based on the design of the more detailed version of the D. F. Poyer Company Menominee truck logo, as seen in the advertisement shown below:

D. F. Poyer Menominee truck ad (April 1916) ma 

The following is a black and white representation of the Menominee truck radiator decal emblem based on the D. F. Poyer Company logo. 

Menominee truck radiator emblem design (c1912-1916)   ms

It is clear from the original black and white Menominee Truck photo shown earlier above that the radiator emblem was colored with a dark outer border and a dark eagle, see close-up shown below:

Close-up of the Menominee Truck radiator decal emblem (1914)

However, there are no original color representations of this emblem and the decal emblem shown earlier above has lost its original colors. Tom Poyer, great-grandson of "Duff" Poyer, has determined a color scheme for the emblem based on all the available evidence and, together with emblem restorer, Karla Maxwell, has created the reproduction of the Menominee radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below:

This is a reproduction Menominee truck radiator emblem  kmc

This Menominee Truck emblem is now displayed on the radiator of a surviving 1916 Menominee Truck owned by Tom Poyer, see below:

This is a surviving Menominee truck (1916)   tpc

Some original Menominee Trucks from the 1914-1916 period also displayed the "D. F. Poyer" and "Menominee" names on brass sill plates, see well worn example from a 1915 Menominee Truck owned by Tom Zaratsky shown below:

This is part of a Menominee truck sill plate (1915)   tpc

This is part of a Menominee truck sill plate (1915)   tpc

D. F. Poyer built Menominee Trucks also displayed the "The Menominee" name on etched brass and color-filled body side nameplates mounted under the entrance to the driver's seat, see examples shown below:

Menominee truck with body side nameplate (c1915)  ebay

Menominee truck with "The Menominee"  body side plate (c1916)  ms

"The Menominee" body side nameplate (1915)   tpc

The "The Menominee" nameplate was also displayed at the rear of the truck, see example shown below:

"The Menominee" rear nameplate (1915)    tpc

The D. F. Poyer Company business interests were transferred to investors in 1916 and became the Menominee Motor Truck Company. The Menominee logo was modified to show the new company name, see example in the Menominee Truck advertisement shown below:



Menominee Motor Truck Co. ad (1916)   ma

Close-up of the Menominee Motor Truck Co. logo (1916)

The Menominee truck would have had a new radiator emblem from later in 1916 to reflect the change in company name. It is very likely that the new Menominee Truck radiator emblem was a colored decal based on the revised logo, see possible design in the illustration shown below:

Menominee truck radiator emblem design (1916-1920)   ms

If you have details of a round Menominee Motor Truck Company radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post. If this is found to be a separate radiator emblem, rather than a decal, it would be extremely rare.

By 1917, the Menominee Truck range included some models with a flanged radiator top tank, which carried a large brass radiator emblem, see detail shown in the Menominee truck photo in the following advertisement:

Menominee ad with heavy duty truck (1917)  ebay 

Close-up showing radiator tank top & emblem (1917)   

A very similar Menominee Truck radiator emblem is seen incorrectly displayed on the radiator grille of the surviving 1917 Menominee light duty truck shown below:

Menominee Truck with radiator emblem (1917)   hatm

This is the Menominee Truck radiator emblem shown below, which is loosely based on the Menominee Truck logo shown earlier. This Menominee radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Menominee radiator emblem (1917)   hatm
Size: Unknown   MM: Unknown

By 1919, the Menominee Truck logo had changed, as shown below:

Menominee Truck logo (1919)   

This new logo was displayed on the radiator tank top of Menominee Trucks, either painted through a stencil or by using a decal, see radiator illustration shown below:

Menominee heavy duty truck radiator and emblem (c1919)  ms

The same radiator and emblem is seen on a 1919 Menominee Hurryton light truck advertisement, see below:

Menominee ad with rad emblem (1919) ebay

Menominee Hurryton radiator close-up showing the emblem (1919)

The Menominee Truck in the following photo is carrying a different radiator emblem:

This is a 1-ton Menominee Truck with radiator emblem (c1920)   pinterest

This emblem is the, possibly originally painted, brass Menominee Truck radiator emblem shown below used following the move to Clintonville, Wisconsin in 1920. This Menominee Truck radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Menominee Truck radiator emblem (c1920-1928)  mjs
Size:    MM:

The Menominee Hurryton had its own, similar shaped radiator emblem after the move to Clintonville, Wisconsin, see example shown below. This Hurryton radiator emblem is also very rare.

This is a Hurryton radiator emblem (c1920-1928)   ebay
Size: 111mm wide 64mm high    MM: None

The following Menominee Truck photos are believed to be dated after the take over by FWD in 1928. They show a rectangular radiator emblem but the detail is unclear:

Menominee Truck with rectangular rad emblem (date uncertain) fcpl

Close-up showing Menominee Truck rad emblem (date uncertain)

Menominee Truck outside FWD office (c1928)   ebay

Close-up showing rectangular rad emblem (c1928) 

If you have details of this rectangular Menominee radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post.

I am most grateful to Tom Poyer of Long Beach, California, for his helpful advice regarding the development of the Menominee Truck and its emblems. Any errors in my interpretation of this advice is entirely down to me.







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