Fall ushers in a new time for harvest and revival, so it is time to Feature another Rare Find for the month of October.  This October 2015 we have another hard to find item the simplicity of which belies its importance as a historical relic and artifact.


This artifact is rather small in size.  Does not attach to an automobile.  And, it does not read, indicate or monitor engine temperatures by any means.  It sought to capitalize on the trend of demonstrating pride, camaraderie and association.


This item post recognizes the October 103 year anniversary of the Motometer Company's incorporation.


We believe that it is worthwhile to expose our site subscribers and visitors to such information in pursuit of their bonafide desire to know what artifacts are out there.  Our artifact examples are in their original form.  Such items provide further assurance that our information is truly fact-based  and substantiated by undeniable, inaurguable original authorative sources.


The goal of this section is to expose site visitors and motometer collectors to some of the most rare or unique motometer-related items, artifacts and materials ever created.  Such ephemera makes for a fantastic addition to any serious motometer-automobilia collector, automotive industry historian, archivist, or museum as an attractive display material beyond its fact offering potential and capability.


The featured items in this section are subject to and will change periodically, so we encourage MotometerCentral website visitors and subscribers to regularly check this site area.


We hope that you enjoy this month's installment.


And, keep your eyes open so that you can find yours!


If you or someone else that you know happens to have one of our Featured Rare Items please let us know, share a picture and info about it with us.  We'd like to know if there are other examples out there.


For a quick information view scroll over the picture/image or to gain a larger/expanded view click on the picture/image.




Messrs. Whitehead and Hoag

George B, Adams Button Patent Drawing extract






In January of 1917 the Motometer Co., Inc. had more firmly established itself as a company and manufacturing business.  They were transitioning to manufacturing in-house their own BOYCE MOTO - METERs and starting operations in their own dedicated production facility at 15 Wilbur Avenue in Long Island City, New York.


To help celebrate this event employees were issued a company pin to wear on their clothing, particularly as the came to and went from the facility so that others would know the company of their employment.  Similar such pins, these days referred to as "Pinbacks" got their more modern popularity start with a business battle for supremacy between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulizer to assist their newsboys in selling more newspapers.  Seeing the success in attracting attention other companies soon followed suit in their use.  Versions of novelty pins were used in 1789 during George Washignton's inauguration.


The Motometer Company in 1917 had only 400 initial employees.So, it may be possible to conclude that only some 400 examples were ever issued, though more probably were ordered to account for lost pins or requested extras.  In any event these pins are quite rare.  Only two are so far known to exist.


These pins were manufactured by the noted pin and employee badge manufacturing company Whitehead & Hoag of Newark, New Jersey.  Whitehead & Hoag items have a strong collector following in and of themselves.  Their quality was usually amongst the very best.  Whitehead & Hoag eventually became the largest supplier and manufacturer of novelty adverting buttons, ribbons, etc in the world.  And, with the final passing of Philip Hoag in 1953 the company was sold to Bastian Brothers of Rochester, New York.  Noted artist of great fame who worked for Whitehead & Hoag at one point in time or another included Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish.


Benjamin Whitehead was the first to patent and use the celluloid covering over buttons.  It is said that the Whitehead & Hoag Company paid young school age children to press the celluloid onto the paper and button as no machine existed during the early period.  They would do this after factory production hours.


The pin features the name and location of the Whitehead & Hoag company on its rear facing side.


The pin's lettering is bright blue and lettering sharp and straight.  There is some corrosion on the non plate finished pin, probably due to humidity more than direct water exposure or poor storage over the near 100 years.  The outer celluloid covering and underlying printed paper is in excellent condition.


Pinbacks have a strong collector following particularly automotive related ones that are not reproductions.  No reproductions of this pin are known to exist, therein so far leaving only the two known examples to exist.


George H. Townsend, Motometer Co. president was always very employee satisfaction oriented and concerned with their well-being, particularly in regard to anything involving the company.  He supported many innovative wellness programs long before they became in vogue or commonplace.  So, issuing these company employee logo pins was probably just another show of appreciation , moral building and pride in work engendering.

Artifact Information:

Date of Issuance: 1917




Motometer Co. 1917 Pin


Format: Small, with wire pin on reverse side


Issued: Approximately 400 direct to employees in  1917


Patent Information

Specific Patent Not Applicable



Manufacture Information

Whitehead & HoagCompany, Inc.

Newark, New Jersey




  • Posted: October 2015



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