October 16, 2022


Fairmount Engineering Co. (1904-1905)
Fairmount Engineering Works (1905-1907)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chadwick Engineering Works
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1907-1908)
Pottstown, Pennsylvania (1908-1916)

This is a Chadwick radiator script (c1906-c1914)     mjs
Size: 152mm wide

While working for the Searchmont Company (see Searchmont), Lee Sherman Chadwick had developed a motor car design based on the French Mors racer. When Searchmont failed in 1904, Lee Chadwick bought a large quantity of parts that had been intended for his new car and set up his works at Fairmount Engineering Company. He reorganized as Fairmount Engineering Works a year later and in 1907 changed the name again to Chadwick Engineering Works.

The first Chadwick cars in 1905 had four-cylinder engines but a six-cylinder Chadwick was put on the market in 1907 as the Great Chadwick Six. It had chain-drive, developed 75 hp and was good for at least 80 mph in standard runabout trim. It was the first car in the world to have a supercharger and this became an option on production cars.

Lee Chadwick was very keen on motor racing. The Chadwick was virtually unbeatable in hill climbs. It took the world's one-mile straightaway record away from the 120 hp Fiat at 88 mph, beat Barney Oldfield and his big Benz at the 1909 inaugural races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and was the winner in the 1910 Fairmount Park epic race against a Lozier. 

Lee Chadwick wanted to continue to refine his cars but they were expensive to produce and his financial backers refused to support him. Chadwick left in 1911 but the cars continued to be built in small numbers until the end of 1915. Total Chadwick production was 307 cars. The last vehicle built by Chadwick in 1916 was a 1,000-pound delivery truck.


The first Chadwick cars did not carry an emblem but most likely carried a small "Chadwick" maker's nameplate/serial plate attached to the body. The following original photo of an early Chadwick shows a "Chadwick" nameplate/serial plate attached to the side of the car below the entrance to the driver's seat:

Chadwick car showing side nameplate (c1905)     dpl

Close-up showing Chadwick nameplate/serial plate (c1905) dpl

The Chadwick nameplate/serial plate had the "Chadwick" name in script and the basic design changed little over the duration of Chadwick manufacture, see later example shown below. This Chadwick nameplate is very rare, earlier pre-Pottstown, original Chadwick nameplates are extremely rare.

Chadwick nameplate/serial plate (c1914)    mjs
Size: 95mm wide 50mm high

By 1907, and possibly by late 1906, the Chadwick displayed the "Chadwick" name on a small cast Chadwick script mounted on the radiator core, see example shown below, which also displays the nameplate/serial plate on the outside of the dashboard:

This is a Chadwick with script & nameplate (1907)   dpl


An example of this small cast "Chadwick" script is shown above at the top of this post. This Chadwick script may not be original. Original Chadwick radiator scripts are rare.

This small cast "Chadwick" script continued in use for some years, although very rarely a larger brass radiator script cut from brass sheet is seen, see example shown below:

Chadwick car with larger radiator script (date unknown)   dpl

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