June 02, 2024


Spaulding Manufacturing Co. (1910-1916)
Grinnell, Iowa

This is a Spaulding vehicle tag (c1909)    mjs
Size: 70mm wide 27mm high    MM: None

By 1900, the Spaulding Manufacturing Company was the oldest and largest manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles west of the Mississippi. The Spauldings began to manufacture automobiles in 1910 with the first units driven out of the factory in Grinnell in June 1910.
The first Spaulding cars were a pair of 30 hp four-cylinder models on the same chassis and with the same engines but different transmissions: Model C with a three-speed sliding gear transmission and Model D with a two-speed planetary transmission, both offered in touring, pony tonneau and roadster body styles. The Model D became a larger 40 hp car in 1911 and more body styles were offered and, from 1913, all Spaulding models were 40 hp four-cylinder cars. A Spaulding Model T one-ton truck using chain-drive and solid rubber tires was offered for 1913 only.

In 1914, Spaulding acheved some useful publicity when a 1913 stock model driven by Hal Wells achieved a new cross-state speed record on the River-to-River (Mississippi-to-Missouri) Road. 

A "Sleeping Car" model with adaptions to provide overnight accommodation made news for Spaulding in 1915. But, there were problems with finance and in obtaining parts and it was all over for the Spaulding car by the end of 1916.


The Spaulding trademark consisted of a diamond shaped frame usually with the "SPAULDING" name in capital letters, see example shown below:

Spaulding trademark   ms

The diamond shape was used on the carriage and wagon tags used by Spaulding, see example shown above at the top of this post and again below:

This is a Spaulding vehicle tag (c1909)   mjs
Size: 70mm wide 27mm high     MM: None

A report concerning Spaulding 30 cars exhibited at the Marshall County Fair in September 1910, concluded that the Spaulding car was worthy of the "diamond trademark". No doubt, the first Spaulding motor cars did display the diamond shaped trademark but as I have not seen an illustration or a photo of a 1910 Spaulding motor car showing the radiator, I do not know if it carried a radiator emblem. It may have carried a small maker's nameplate similar to the tag shown above, but I cannot confirm this.

The "Spaulding" name would have been displayed on the hubcaps, see example shown below:

This is a Spaulding hubcap (1910-1916)   dkc

There are original period photos of Spaulding motor cars from 1911 showing the radiator. The following very clear photo shows no evidence of a radiator emblem or a radiator script:

Spaulding runabout with no emblem (1911)    shsi

However, the following photo of a 1911 Spaulding taking part in the Iowa Little Glidden Tour has the Spaulding name stenciled onto the radiator grille, no doubt for publicity purposes, but, although difficult to see in the photo, there is also what appears to be a round radiator emblem:

Spaulding car taking part in Iowa Little Glidden Tour (1911)  shsi

The Spaulding radiator emblem is more clearly seen in the following original photo of a 1912 Spaulding car. The detailed design of the emblem cannot be seen but is likely to include the diamond shaped trademark:

Spaulding fore-door car showing rad emblem (1912)   shsi

If you have details or a photo of the Spaulding radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post. An original Spaulding radiator emblem would certainly be extremely rare and possibly ultra rare.

It appears that the radiator emblem did not continue in use after 1912. There are several original photos of 1913 Spaulding cars but none show a radiator emblem, see example shown below, which has no radiator emblem but has the "SPAULDING" name stenciled across the radiator core probably for front view publicity, as the side view shows the model name and date:

Spaulding 40 car with no radiator emblem (1913)  des moines register

The following photo shows a 1913 stock car being driven by Hal Wells at the start of his record breaking River-to-River Run in 1914:

Hal Wells driving a 1913 Spaulding (1914)    shsi

The car has a very visible "script" mounted in the center of the radiator core, probably the Spaulding diamond trademark, which would have been very clear publicity for Spaulding. At the end of the record breaking run the car and Hal Wells were covered in mud, as seen in the following photo, from which the radiator "script" can just be made out and is indeed diamond shaped:

The record breaking River-to-River Spaulding car (1914)  shsi

There is only one known surviving Spaulding car, a 1913 Spaulding 40 roadster. This car too has no radiator emblem.

I can find no front views of the 1913 Spaulding truck, which may also have had no emblem, but the following Spaulding emblem is a candidate:

Possible Spaulding truck radiator emblem (1913)   mjs
Size: 157mm wide 83mm high    MM: None

If you have details of the use of the Spaulding emblem shown above, please let me know, in order to update this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment