November 14, 2022


Smith Automobile Co. (1903-1911)
Topeka, Kansas 

This is a Great Smith radiator script (1907-1911)    mjs
Size: 327mm wide

The Smith family of Topeka formed a partnership in 1898 with Terry Stafford, a local mechanic, to build automobiles. A few gasoline cars were built by 1900 and two steamers in 1902. Then in 1903 automobile production began in earnest and the Smith Automobile Company was incorporated in 1904. The first cars were two-cylinder models marketed as the Veracity. A 20/24hp four-cylinder car appeared in 1906 and the name became the Smith.

The Great Smith introduced in 1907 was a smarter version of the Smith. A six-cylinder model was also offered in 1907 but only ten were sold and it was discontinued. By late 1909 the company was under the control of a group of businessmen from Grand Rapids, Michigan who wanted to move the enterprise to Grand Rapids. But a license to move to Grand Rapids was not granted and the businessmen lost interest. Through neglect and lack of finance, the Smith Automobile Company failed and was in receivership by late 1910. The plant was sold in 1911 and the last Great Smith cars were built from parts on hand.


The first Veracity and Smith cars did not carry an emblem but, from 1904, they did display the "Smith" name on a Smith Automobile Company nameplate/serial plate attached to the body of the car, see example shown below. This Smith Automobile Company nameplate is very rare.

Smith Automobile Company nameplate/serial plate (1904-1910) mjs
Size: 98mm wide 37mm high

The "Smith" name was also displayed on the hubcaps, see example shown below:

This is a Smith/Great Smith hubcap (c1904-1911)    dkc

The Great Smith also did not appear to carry a radiator emblem but did display the "Great Smith" name on a cast brass script mounted on the radiator core on some models, see example shown above at the top of this post. Emblem collectors should beware as there are reproduction Great Smith radiator scripts. Original Great Smith radiator scripts are very rare.

The following painted, heavy cast metal Great Smith emblem is a genuine original emblem but it is not clear where this emblem was mounted. It is possible that this Great Smith emblem was a hub emblem. This Great Smith emblem is very rare.

This is a Great Smith emblem (c1907-1911)   mjs
Size: 84mm diameter     MM: None

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