July 23, 2021


Columbia Motors Co. (1916-1924)
Detroit, Michigan

This is a Columbia Six radiator emblem (1918-c1924)      mjs
Size: 58mm wide 58mm high     MM: D L Auld

The Columbia Motors Company was established in 1915 by a group of distinguished and experienced motor industry executives, including William E. Metzger, one of the founders of the E-M-F company.

The Columbia Six, introduced for the 1917 model year, was a fine assembled car, using high quality units. The car was nicely finished with good quality furnishings and was advertised as "The Gem of the Highway". It utilized an exclusive thermostatically controlled radiator shutter system. 

The Columbia Six was popular and sales rose each year, reaching just under 6,000 by 1923, when the company made a number of expensive acquisitions in anticipation of a boom in business, which did not happen. Columbia had overextended itself and was finished later in 1924.


The Columbia Six car was named after the popular female personification of the United States, Columbia, who was often depicted clothed in the Stars and Stripes flag about the time of the introduction of the Columbia Six and throughout the First World War. 

The Columbia Six radiator emblem design showed the profiled head of Columbia wearing a bonnet and laurel wreath head-dress. This design is seen in the following Columbia Six advertisement from 1917, together with a photo of a Columbia Six Model D showing the radiator emblem:

Columbia Six ad showing radiator emblem (1917)  tma

Close-up showing radiator emblem and design logo (1917)  tma

The first Columbia Six cars in 1917 carried a red, white and blue enamel radiator emblem, which displayed the head of Columbia over the name "COLUMBIA" in large letters, as shown in the advertisement shown above, see example below. This Columbia Six radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a Columbia Six radiator emblem (1917-1918)    mjs
Size:58mm wide 58mm high     MM: Unknown

Columbia Six advertisements in early 1918 show the same emblem design as shown above but, later in 1918, the design was changed to show the Columbia head profile over the words "COLUMBIA SIX", see Columbia Six advertisement shown below:

Columbia Six ad showing the new logo/emblem design (1918)  

The new Columbia Six radiator emblem used a slightly simplified representation of Columbia's hair and laurel wreath head-dress, and included the additional inscription "Made in Detroit", see red, white and blue Columbia six radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. This radiator emblem was used on the vast majority of Columbia Six cars but is rare, nevertheless.

This is a Columbia Six radiator emblem (1918-c1924)    mjs
Size: 58mm wide 58mm high   MM: D L Auld

In 1924, the Columbia Six Tiger models carried a blue and white enamel version of this radiator emblem, see original period photo shown below. Other models in 1924 appear to have continued to use the previous red, white and blue Columbia Six radiator emblem. 

This is a Columbia Six Tiger Sport with blue & white emblem (1924) flp

Apart from the colors, the blue and white enamel Columbia Six radiator emblem shown below is exactly the same simplified design as the red, white and blue version shown earlier above. This blue and white version of the Columbia Six radiator emblem had limited use and is very rare.

This is a Columbia Six radiator emblem (1924)     mjs
Size: 58mm wide 58mm high   MM: Unknown (poss D L Auld)

The red, white and blue enamel Columbia Six emblem shown below is a mystery. It uses precisely the same simplified design of Columbia's profile, hair and laurel wreath head-dress as for the emblems used from 1918 to 1924 but set over a completely different inscription "Columbia Motors Co." and "Detroit U.S.A.". This inscription suggests that this Columbia radiator emblem may have been made for Columbia Six models intended for export. The emblem may have been made around 1923 at the time when the Columbia Motors Company was anticipating a boom in business which did not happen. This Columbia Six radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This appears to be a Columbia Six radiator emblem (poss 1923-1924) cwc
Size: 58mm wide 58mm high    MM: Unknown

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