Pictured above: The Spirit of Ecstasy/Rolls Royce Ornament
VAV!/February 8, 2015
The hood ornament or "mascot,"' remains a striking vestige of the past and a distinctive styling ornament that helped define the hallmark of fine automobiles as well as a drivers' style.
While primarily ornamental since the 1930s, the hood ornament originally evolved from a need to provide a cooling system monitor for automobiles produced during the teens and the 1920s. Consequently, investing in an engine temperature gauge for the radiator, located externally at the front of the automobile and equipped with a filter cap on its top in direct sight of the driver, was a pretty good idea. The gauge monitored the radiators' temperature for proper functioning, as well as providing for its', longevity and efficiency, too. Enter Moto Meter, a company from Long Island, NY, who promised a product to fulfill just that need. (Moto Meter was founded in 1912 by George H. Townsend, president of the Moto Meter Co. Inc. Townsend obtained the exclusive rights under Boyce patents to manufacture radiator and dashboard motor temperature indicators. Soon, the Boyce Moto Meter dominated the motor vehicle industry with their product. Their motto was "Boyce Moto Meter, Your Car Deserves One.")