March 04, 2024


Kelly Motor Truck Co. (1910-1912)
Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Co. (1912-1926)
American Bus & Truck Co. (1926)
Kelly Springfield Truck & Bus Corp. (1926-1928)
Springfield, Ohio

This is a Kelly-Springfield emblem (dates uncertain)  mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The Kelly truck followed the gasoline powered air-cooled Frayer-Miller truck, which was built by the Oscar Lear Auto Company from 1906 and then taken over by the Kelly Motor Truck Company in 1910.

Much the same air-cooled trucks were continued as Kelly trucks until 1912 when the Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company introduced its own four-cylinder water-cooled engines with the radiator located behind the engine, which was given a Renault-type hood. Three models were built initially with 1-ton, 2-ton and 3-ton capacity. In 1917 Kelly-Springfield won a contract to build a hundred 3-1/2-ton trucks for the United States Circus Corporation. 

By 1918 the Kelly-Springfield range had increased to eight models up to 6-ton capacity. New models were introduced through the 1920's and the Renault-type hood was replaced with a conventional hood in 1925. But production began to fade and, although the company was reorganized in 1926, it was all over by 1928.


The Frayer-Miller truck built by the Kelly Motor Truck Company in 1910 continued to have the "Frayer-Miller" name displayed on the sides of the truck under the driver's seat, possibly using a decal, see 1911 Kelly (Frayer-Miller) Motor Truck advertisement shown below:

Kelly (Frayer-Miller) ad (1911)  ld

Detail showing "Frayer-Miller" name on body sides (1911) ld

When Kelly-Springfield began to build its own range of Kelly trucks in later 1911 for the 1912 model year, the "Kelly" name was displayed on the body sides in the same location as for the Frayer-Miller, see factory illustration of a Kelly 3-ton heavy express wagon shown below:

This is a Kelly truck with body side nameplates (1911)   tmw

These early Kelly trucks did not show any emblem or nameplate on the front of the truck, see original photo shown below:

Kelly truck with body side nameplates (1911)  dpl

The "Kelly" body side nameplate continued to be displayed in the same location with the new Renault-type hood Kelly truck design, see following illustration from 1912:

This is a 1-ton Kelly truck with body side nameplate (1912)  tpw

In 1913, the "Kelly" body side nameplate was moved down to a position just below the entrance to the driver's seat, see example shown below:

Kelly Model K-30 truck ad showing nameplate (1913)  atj

Close up of Kelly Model K-30 showing body side nameplate (1913)

A series of different Kelly logos were used in Kelly advertisements in 1913, before the new Kelly logo was decided, see new logo shown in the following 1913 Kelly truck advertisement:

Kelly truck ad showing new logo (1913)  tpw

Kelly truck logo (1913)    tpw

By 1917, the "Kelly-Springfield" name was being displayed in place of the previous "Kelly" nameplate, see example shown below:

Kelly-Springfield truck showing body side nameplate (1917)
old oregon photos 

Close up showing the Kelly-Springfield nameplate (1917)

From about 1919, Kelly-Springfield truck models displayed both "Kelly-Springfield" and "Kelly" nameplates, see example from a 1919 advertisement shown below:

Kelly-Springfield ad (1919)   ld

Close-up showing "Kelly" & "Kelly-Springfield" nameplates (1919) 

The Kelly-Springfield nameplate is also displayed on the front chassis cross member on some models, see Kelly-Springfield bus photo shown below:

Kelly-Springfield bus with front cross member nameplate (c1920) tom

The following is an example of a Kelly-Springfield nameplate. This Kelly-Springfield nameplate is rare.

This is a Kelly-Springfield nameplate (1920's)   mjs
Size: 280mm wide 77mm high

The "Kelly" nameplate in the form of a brass script was displayed on the side of the Renault-type hood as shown earlier and in the surviving Kelly-Springfield truck photo shown below:

Kelly-Springfield showing hood side nameplate (1924) heritage center

A similar brass Kelly script was also displayed on the rear chassis cross frame member on some models, see example shown below:

Rear View showing Kelly nameplate (1920)   ccj

An example of the brass "Kelly" script is shown below. Original Kelly brass scripts are rare.

This is a Kelly truck hood side script (1919-1928)   ms
Size: 306mm wide 78mm high

The Kelly-Springfield truck was given a regular hood and a heavy cast radiator from 1925 to the end of production in 1928. The "Kelly" name was cast into the radiator tank top and into the sides of the radiator, see examples shown below:

Kelly Pirsch fire truck showing cast in radiator emblem (1927)  ebay

Close up with "Kelly" cast into radiator side (c1925) forums aaca

The small green painted Kelly-Springfield emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below follows the design of the Kelly-Springfield logo introduced in 1913. This Kelly-Springfield emblem is believed to be a steering wheel center emblem and is rare.

This is a Kelly-Springfield emblem (dates unknown)    mjs
Size: 57mm diameter   MM: Unknown

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