Radiator emblems, being either a brand emblem or a small sculpture, are positioned at the very front of the vehicle in a place for all to see their distinguishing features.

The first automobiles did not need a radiator emblem since those vehicles did not possess a modern-style radiator with a closed water circuit. The systems were not included until the latter part of the 19th century going into the 20th century when the engine power was increased.

At the forefront of this development was the Mercedes 35 hp. In 1901, it was the first automobile to possess an efficient honeycomb radiator. The radiator displayed the front of the Mercedes and became the platform for the three-pointed Mercedes star, which originally decorated the radiator as a raised badge.

The sons of Gottlieb Daimler, the motoring pioneer who died in 1900, were the people who conceived the Mercedes star. The three rays of the emblem symbolized the vision of their father who dreamt of Daimler engines being used in land vehicles, aviation, and ships.

On June 24, 1909, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) applied to patent the three-pointed star design, and it was entered in the trademark register on February 9, 1911. 

On November 5, 1921, an application was submitted for the three-pointed star as a radiator emblem, with it registered as a trademark on August 2, 1923.

At the time, the emblem enhanced the cooling water screw cap, altering the cap into a pedestal, producing aesthetics with function. Some of the stars were even supplied with an integrated cooling water thermometer. 

Numerous car producers adopted the radiator mascot as an identifying emblem. During this era, the radiator was not hidden under the bonnet and accordingly was designed and decorated. The radiator fittings of the 1920s became works of art, displaying silver figures of cross-eyed fauns, animals, and unclothed ladies.

Mercedes star with cooling water thermometer
Mercedes star with a cooling water thermometer incorporated.

During the 1920s, the most striking radiator figures were designed by René Jules Lalique, a French artist who made radiator figures made out of glass. 

The “33 Extras” exhibit at the Mercedes-Benz Museum displays one such radiator mascot in the form of a lady in a perfectly balanced, flowing posture as she holds a round object, possibly a ball

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By: Sports Car Digest
Title: Mercedes-Benz: A History of the Mercedes Star and Radiator Emblems
Sourced From: sportscardigest.com/mercedes-star-and-radiator-emblem/
Published Date: Tue, 11 May 2021 00:15:52 +0000

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