Archive for August 11th, 2016

August 11, 2016

Hood Ornament

Lejeune

Spirit of Ecstasy

A hood ornament (‘bonnet ornament’ in the UK), ‘radiator cap,’ ‘motor mascot,’ or ‘car mascot’ is a specially crafted model which symbolizes a car company like a badge, located on the front center portion of the hood. It has been used as an adornment nearly since the inception of automobiles. According to ‘A History of Cars,’ the first ‘hood ornament’ was a sun-crested falcon (to bring good luck) mounted on Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s chariot.

In the early years, automobiles had their radiator caps outside of the hood and on top of the grille which also served as an indicator of the temperature of the engine’s coolant fluid. The Boyce MotoMeter Company was issued a patent in 1912 for a radiator cap that incorporated a thermometer that was visible to the driver with a sensor that measured the heat of the water vapor, rather than the water itself. This became a useful gauge for the driver because many early engines did not have water pumps, but a circulation system based on the ‘thermo-syphon’ principle as in the Ford Model T. The ‘exposed radiator cap became a focal point for automobile personalization.’

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