November 14, 2022


Knox Automobile Co. (1900-1914)
Knox Motors Co. (1914-1924)
Springfield, Massachusetts 

This is a Knox radiator emblem (1911-1914)     mjs
Size: 98mm wide 58mm high    MM: Robbins

Harry A. Knox established the Knox Automobile Company and, encouraged by his neighbor, Frank Duryea, he decided to build his air-cooled gasoline car. Fifteen three-wheeler runabouts were produced in 1900, a hundred in 1901 and 250 in 1902, when a four-wheeler runabout was added to the line. These early cars were called Knoxmobiles but the Waterless Knox became a popular name in 1903. The cars had the nickname "Old Porcupine", because Knox produced his air-cooling by large pins stuck into the cylinder barrel rather than the more usual fins. In 1904, Harry Knox left his company to build another air-cooled car, called the Atlas.

In 1906 a Knox successfully completed the Glidden Tour without the loss of any points. Sales of the Knox continued to grow each year but the company had financial difficulties in trying to keep up with expanding production. In 1907 Knox survived receivership but new creditors were now in control. The first four-cylinder Knox had been introduced in 1906 and shaft drive replaced chain drive in 1907. The first water-cooled Knox appeared in 1908. By 1910 all Knox cars were water-cooled and a six-cylinder car was added in 1911. They were excellent cars but had lost their original personality. Sales began to fall from 1911 and in 1914 the Knox assets were sold and passenger car production ceased.

Knox had started to build commercial vehicles in 1901 with a delivery van version of the three-wheeler passenger car. The first four-wheeler commercial vehicle was produced in 1902 and the first purpose-built commercial chassis was offered in 1904, as either a 1-1/4-ton delivery van or a 14 passenger bus. In 1906 Knox produced its first fire engine, which was delivered to the Springfield Fire Department. Knox later produced ambulances, coaches and truck tractors. After the company was sold in 1914, it was reorganized as Knox Motors Company to continue the manufacture of tractor-trailer and fire apparatus units. Semi-trailer tractors were marketed as Knox-Martin between 1912 and 1921. All Knox production had ceased by 1924.


The earliest Knox cars did not carry an emblem but are likely to have displayed the "Knox" name on a small maker's nameplate or serial plate located at the rear of the vehicle or elsewhere on the body.

From 1903 certainly and possibly from 1902, the Knox carried a distinctive maker's nameplate with a serial number and patent information, see example shown below. Original Knox nameplates are very rare.

This is a Knox maker's nameplate/serial plate (1903)    scam
Size: Unknown

The following shows a similar Knox nameplate located under the driver's seat in a 1904 Knox:

Knox car showing maker's nameplate (1904)    bonhams

From about 1904, the Knox serial plate showing the patent data changed to a rectangular brass plate, see example shown below:

This is a Knox serial/patent plate (c1904)    mjs
Size: 102mm wide 49mm high

Knox did not use a logo in their advertising until about 1909 and even then Knox advertisements usually do not show a logo. Original period photos of Knox cars show no evidence of an emblem or a radiator script until 1908, see photo of Knox cars at a trade show in 1908:

Knox cars with rad scripts at trade show (1908)   dpl

The following original photo shows a Knox car with a radiator script taking part in an event in 1909:

Knox car showing radiator script (1909)    dpl

For early Knox commercial vehicles there is no evidence of the use of emblems and the only brass radiator script seen on an original photo is for a 1909 fire truck. see below:

Knox fire truck with rad script (1909)   pinterest

The following is a brass Knox radiator script. Original Knox radiator scripts are very rare.

This is a Knox radiator script (1908-c1912))    mjs
Size: 404mm wide

Even though original photos show examples of the use of Knox radiator scripts, these do not appear to have been fitted to all Knox cars and may have been optional extra accessories. The following photo of Knox cars at a trade show around 1910 do not show any radiator scripts or emblems:

Knox cars at trade show without radiator scripts (c1910)   dpl

The "Knox" name was displayed on the hubcaps, see hub emblem example shown below:

This is a Knox hub emblem (c1908)     sam
Size: 67mm diameter

I have been unable to find any original period photos showing a Knox emblem. However, surviving Knox automobiles indicate that the first Knox emblems appeared in 1911 and are sometimes mounted on the front of the dashboard rather than on the radiator,  see surviving but fairly original Knox Model M shown below, which also displays a brass Knox script on the radiator core:

Knox Model M with emblem and radiator script (1911)  ms

The Knox emblem attached to the dashboard is shown in the following close-up photo:

This is a Knox dashboard emblem (1911)   ms

This is the blue enamel Knox emblem mounted on an oak leaf cluster shown above at the top of this post. These Knox emblems are very rare.

It is noted that the Knox emblem does not have pre-drilled holes to allow mounting on the dashboard, so I cannot confirm that this was how the emblem was originally displayed. Some surviving Knox cars have this emblem mounted on the front of the radiator tank top, see the surviving 1911 Knox shown below:

Knox Model R with radiator emblem (1911)    wiki

There are almost no examples of original photos showing emblems on Knox commercial vehicles. The following 1915 photo of a Knox tractor trailer is an exception in showing an oval shaped radiator emblem:

This shows a Knox tractor trailer with a radiator emblem (1915)    wiki
The detail of the radiator emblem carried by the above Knox tractor cannot be seen. It is possible that this may be the following oval brass Knox emblem, but I cannot confirm this. This oval shaped Knox emblem is very rare.

This is a Knox emblem (dates unknown)    sam
Size: 100mm wide 49mm high    MM: Unknown

Several other original photos of Knox commercial vehicles can be found, including photos taken at trade shows, but none show any emblems or scripts. Later Knox fire trucks displayed the "Knox" name in large script form painted on the body work, see the following example:

Knox fire engine showing hood side "Knox" logo script (1919)     eBay

The "Knox" name was also displayed on early Knox automobiles and commercial vehicles on the vehicle serial plate, see the following example of a diamond-shaped Knox maker's nameplate/serial plate from the 1911 Knox Model M automobile shown earlier above:

This is a Knox maker's nameplate/serial plate (1911)   ms

The following is a blank Knox maker's nameplate/serial plate. Original Knox nameplate/serial plates of this type are rare.

This is a Knox nameplate/serial plate (c1911)    khc
Size: 114mm high 114mm wide

The following similarly diamond-shaped Knox emblems finished in enamel are a mystery, due to the lack of evidence of Knox emblems. It is possible that these Knox emblem were used on Knox commercial models but I cannot confirm this. These enamel Knox emblems are very rare.

This is a black & white enamel Knox emblem (dates unknown) mjs
Size: 90mm wide 90mm high   MM: None

This is a blue & white enamel Knox emblem (dates unknown) mjs
Size: 94mm wide 94mm high   MM: None

If you can identify these enamel finished, diamond-shaped Knox emblems or the brass oval Knox emblem shown earlier, please let me know, in order to update this post.

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