May 27, 2021

YELLOW CAB

Yellow Cab Manufacturing Co. (1915-1925)
Yellow Truck & Coach Co. (1925-1928)
Chicago, Illinois
General Motors Truck Co. (1928-1930)
Pontiac, Michigan 


This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (c1924-1925)     mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The Yellow taxicab began with John Hertz, who had joined the Walden W Shaw Livery Company of Chicago as a salesman in 1905 (see Shaw). Hertz started by buying secondhand cars to be converted into taxicabs, then in 1910 he bought nine Thomas cars, which he painted yellow to attract attention for use as taxicabs.

In late 1914, the Walden W Shaw Livery Company began building its own chassis and, in 1915, the Yellow Taxicab Manufacturing Company was established. The first Yellow cabs were assembled in the Shaw Company plant and were powered by four-cylinder engines. One hundred and fifty Yellow cabs were built in 1915 and were very successful. Production grew to thousands of cabs thereafter and, by 1920, the Yellow taxicab dominated the industry.

By 1923, John Hertz was largely in control of Yellow and entered a program of diversification. He bought the rights to the R & V Knight engine and some Yellow-Knight cars were built for use both as passenger cars and taxicabs (see Yellow-Knight). Yellow also began to build busses through the Yellow Motor Coach Company and a line of light 3/4-ton to 1-ton Yellocab trucks was introduced in 1923-1924. The Knight engine was fitted to some Yellow Coach models and, in 1924-1925, to Yellow Knight trucks, which extended the Yellocab truck line up to 4-ton capacity.

General Motors bought a majority share in Yellow in 1925 and renamed the company as the Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company. All Yellow truck production ceased by the end of 1927 and, in 1928, Yellow taxicab and Yellow coach production moved to a new General Motors plant in Pontiac, Michigan. In 1930, the Yellow Cab name was discontinued and replaced by General Motors Cab.

Emblems

The first Yellow Cabs did not carry an emblem on the black radiator shell but the "Yellow" name was displayed on the hubcaps and on the Yellow Cab logo applied to the rear doors, see example shown below:

This is a Yellow Cab showing logo (1917)   coachbuilt

This Yellow Cab logo is seen more clearly on the following Yellow Cab advertisement from a Chicago newspaper in 1916:

Yellow Cab ad with logo (1916)

The Yellow Cab logo had a round center, enclosed by a garter, with a "Y" in the middle, representing the three branches of the Chicago River, see below:

Yellow Cab Logo (c1914-1918)   coachbuilt

This "Y" shaped logo was later changed to the words "Yellow Cab Co." displayed in black on the yellow rear doors, see example shown below:

Yellow Cab trademark (c1918-1920)   ms

The first Yellow Cab radiator emblem appeared in 1921 with the introduction of the Model O Yellow Cab, see restored surviving Yellow Cab shown below, which no longer has "Yellow Cab Co." on the rear door:

Yellow Cab showing a radiator emblem (1923)  rmsothebys

Close-up showing radiator emblem (1923)

This is the plain, pressed metal Yellow Cab radiator emblem showing a rear view of a Yellow Cab, see example shown below. This Yellow Cab radiator emblem is rare.

This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (1921-1923)   mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The dates of use of the various Yellow Cab radiator emblems known to have been used are difficult to determine with confidence, due to the lack of original dated photos. The following examples are assigned estimated dates of use.

The following is a painted version of a pressed metal Yellow Cab radiator emblem similar to the radiator emblem shown above but with wider vertical bands. This Yellow Cab radiator emblem is also rare.

This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (1921-1923)    mjs
Size: 57mm diameter    MM: Unknown

By about 1924, the Yellow Cab carried radiator emblems finished in enamel but I cannot confirm the precise date. They were used on O-4 models through 1925 until the GM takeover of Yellow Cab, and may have been used for some early 1926 O-5 models. On some models around 1925, the Yellow Cab radiator emblem was mounted on the right hand side of the radiator shell, see Yellow Cab factory photo shown below, possibly to be more easily seen, as it was common practise at the time to mount the license plate on the top front of the radiator, thereby covering the usual radiator emblem location. 

Yellow Cab Model O-4 with emblem on side of rad shell (1925) amazon

The following is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem with narrow vertical bands finished in yellow, black and white enamel. This Yellow Cab radiator emblem is nickel plated and is very rare.

This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (c1924-1925)   mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

There is also a Yellow Cab radiator emblem with wider vertical bands also finished in yellow, black and white enamel, see example shown above at the top of this post and again below. This Yellow Cab radiator emblem is finished in gold and is also very rare.

This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (c1924-1925)   mjs
Size: 57mm diameter    MM: Unknown

The Claus Wulff emblem collection includes the following extremely rare Yellow Cab emblem showing a rear quarter view of the taxicab. How and when this emblem was used is unknown.

Yellow Cab emblem (date unknown)   cwc
Size: 58mm diameter   MM: Unknown

This Yellow Cab trademark appeared in a Saturday Evening Post advertisement in about 1922-1923, see detail shown below:

Yellow Cab trademark (1922-1923)  saturday evening post

A new trademark logo was designed for the Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company in 1923 using the  entwined letters "Y" and "C". This logo was also adopted by Yellow Cab around 1925, possibly just before the take over by GM. The Yellow Cab radiator emblem was also changed to include the new logo, see examples shown below. These radiator emblems may have continued in use until the move of Yellow Cab to GM's Pontiac plant in 1928, but I cannot confirm this.

The following yellow and black enamel Yellow Cab radiator emblems are rare.

This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (c1925-1928)   mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

This is a Yellow Cab radiator emblem (c1925-1928)    mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The following metal emblem is a Yellow Cab hub emblem, which may also have been used as a radiator emblem on some models. This Yellow Cab hub emblem is rare.

This is a Yellow Cab hub emblem (c1926-1928)   mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The following Yellow Cab radiator emblem is believed to have been used on some models in the late 1920's but I cannot confirm the precise dates of use. This Yellow Cab radiator emblem is rare.

This is a Yellow radiator emblem (late 1920's) sam
Size:148mm high 52mm wide overall  MM: Unknown

Most Yellow Cab O-6 models in 1927-1928 had styling and radiator shell designs based on Pontiac models. The following example is a 1928 Yellow Cab Model O-6, which displays a "YC" logo on the headlamp tie bar and the spare wheel hubcap disc. The running wheels have smaller "YC" hub emblems, possibly similar to the Yellow Cab hub emblem shown above but apparently with a painted finish.

Yellow Cab Model O-6 (1928)   wheelsage

Close-up showing headlight tie bar and spare wheel "YC" logos and hubcap (1928) 

For 1929, the last year for the Yellow Cab designation, taxicab styling was similar to that of contemporary Buick sedans. Visible identification is given by General Motors Truck "GMT" logos on the hubcaps, see example shown below:

Yellow Cab Model O-10 (1929)   wheelsage

Close-up showing "GMT" logo on the hub emblem (1929)    

The following is a different hubcap showing the "GMT" logo:

Yellow Cab hubcap (c1929)    dkc

From 1930, GM taxicabs are named General Motors Cabs or "General" Cabs (see General Cab).

I am most grateful to Dennis Neilsen for his helpful advice regarding the dates of use of Yellow Cab emblems. Any errors in my interpretation of this advice are entirely down to me.





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