February 08, 2024


Triangle Motor Truck Co. (1917-1924)
St. Johns, Michigan

This is a Triangle truck radiator emblem (1917-c1924)  lktec
Size: 90mm wide 78mm high    MM: Unknown

The first Triangle trucks in 1917 were 1-1/2-ton units powered by 35 hp four-cylinder Waukesha engines. Mid-1918 Triangle advertisements suggest that a 2-1/2-ton capacity truck model was planned for late 1918. However, later Triangle truck advertisements offer 1-1/2-ton and 2-ton capacity truck models for 1919. 

A line of four Triangle truck models was offered from early 1920 and into 1924. A typical Triangle advertisement from 1921 describes this line-up as follows: "a 3/4-ton to 1-ton high speed model, a 1-1/2-ton utility express, a real 2-tonner and a big, powerful, over-size 2-1/2-tonner for road work and heavy duty trucking".

In reality, the Triangle Motor Truck Company in common with other small motor truck manufacturing companies must have struggled to survive through the recession of 1920-1921. 

Some understanding of the state of Triangle truck business can be seen from their advertisements. It appears that there were significant advertising campaigns in the first half of 1920 in Motor Age and some Michigan newspapers. There was another period of advertising in Motor Age in early 1921 but there were almost no newspaper advertisements or reporting about the company after July 1920. 

Newspaper reports in February 1921 refers to a very large order for 3,750 trucks, which would result in an "immediate resumption of operations at the (Triangle) plant", which had been closed for some weeks. This suggests that Triangle production had been halted due to lack of orders. However, the large order for trucks may not have been concluded as there is no further news about the Triangle motor truck until mid-1923 when it was reported that the Triangle plant had been down for some time but new interests were planning to reorganize the company and recommence production. A new Triangle sales company was set up in August 1924 but the Triangle Motor Truck Company filed for voluntary dissolution in December 1924.


There are very few photos of Triangle trucks but several Triangle truck advertisements have illustrations showing the trucks and Triangle logos, which were changed frequently. Some Triangle logos were clearly used as radiator emblems but in other cases this cannot be confirmed.

The first 1-1/2-ton Triangle trucks had a conventional radiator and carried a triangular radiator emblem and a similar, possibly identical, triangular nameplate mounted on the body at the side of the driver's seat, see Triangle truck photo in the 1918 advertisement shown below. 

Triangle 1-1/2-ton truck ad (1918)   ma

Triangle truck close up showing rad emblem & side nameplate (1918)

The following advertisements include illustrations of the Triangle truck logo and original photos of Triangle trucks showing triangular shaped emblems mounted on the radiator and on the body sides under the driver's seat:

Triangle Truck advertisement with emblem logo (1918)   ebay

Triangle truck ad with rad & body side emblems (c1919)  ma

The Triangle Truck logo has the letter "T" in the center of the triangle and the words "POWER" "SERVICE" and "DURABILITY" along the sides of the triangle , see below:

Triangle Truck logo radiator emblem (c1917-1919)  ma

This Triangle truck logo is seen in Triangle Truck advertisements and may have been used as a Triangle Truck radiator emblem but I cannot confirm this. If an original Triangle Truck radiator emblem with this design could be found it would be extremely rare. 

The red, black and blue-green enamel Triangle Truck radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below is similar but has a triangle in the center in place of the letter "T". This Triangle Truck radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Triangle Truck radiator emblem (c1917-1919)  lktec
Size: 90mm wide 78mm high    MM: Unknown

Emblem collectors should beware as there are good reproduction Triangle truck radiator emblems with plain flat shiny backs.

From January 1920, triangle truck advertisements briefly show a new style of logo, see example shown below:

Triangle truck ad showing new logo (1920)  ma

It is also seen that the triangle is centered over a black letter "A" and now has the word "DEPENDABILITY" at the bottom instead of "DURABILITY" as seen in the Triangle truck logo and radiator emblem shown earlier above.

It is possible that this new Triangle Truck logo was used as a radiator emblem in 1920 but I have not found an illustration of the radiator of a Triangle truck from 1920, so I cannot confirm this.

A few months later, in April 1920, Triangle advertisements show a more elaborate Triangle Truck logo with the triangle centered over a white letter "A" now appearing to be a pyramid with the slogan "Solid as the Pyramids" inside, see example shown below:

Triangle truck ad with revised logo (1920) 
lansing state journal

Triangle truck pyramid logo (1920)

This is the black and white Triangle truck radiator emblem shown below. This Triangle truck radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a Triangle truck radiator emblem (1920-1921)  dnc
Size:  MM:

The Triangle truck illustration in the 1920 advertisement shown earlier above appears to have a new style of body side nameplate, see copy below, which is likely to have been based on the triangle logo shown above:

Trianle truck illustration showing new body side nameplate (1920)

The following Triangle truck advertisement from January 1921 has the same pyramid logo but with a black letter "A" in the pyramid and the truck illustration shows this revised logo used as the radiator emblem:

Triangle truck advertisement showing revised pyramid logo (1921)  ma

Triangle truck revised pyramid logo (1921)

The following Triangle Truck advertisement from a few months later in 1921 shows the same Triangle Truck logo but the radiator emblem on the truck is larger, possibly for a heavier duty model, although I cannot confirm this:

Triangle Truck ad with larger rad emblem (1921)   ma

A few months later still in 1921, Triangle Trucks advertisements show yet another change to the logo. Now, the pyramid has gone and is replaced by a triangle centered over a white letter "A" and the slogan is now "At The Peak of Performance", see example below:

This is a Triangle Truck ad with new logo (1921)   ma

Triangle truck new logo (1921)   ma 

The truck illustration in this advertisement shows a similar radiator emblem, although the detail cannot be seen.

If these Triangle Truck advertisements are intended to be accurate representations of the changes to the logo and radiator emblem, then there may have been several different Triangle Truck radiator emblems in 1921. If this is correct, the Triangle radiator emblems and body side nameplates would almost certainly have been decals or were stencil painted, as the Triangle truck business must have been struggling and short of cash during and following the 1920 and 1921 recession in America. 

I have been unable to find any photos or illustrations of Triangle trucks after mid-1921 and believe it is unlikely that more than a small number of trucks were built after this time, so it is most unlikely that any new Triangle truck emblems were made.

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