Canadian Badge Restoration

26th February 2018 — 19 Comments

I have been a member of the premier Canadian Metal Detecting Forum for over ten years. I like it there primarily because of the people, my affinity with Canada and the sort of artefacts that are found. Although many finds are relatively ‘modern’ compared to what we unearth in the UK, they can often be much more interesting.

At first glance, the discovery of a vehicle radiator badge may not float the boat of the typical UK swinger, but they’d be wrong. I was fascinated recently by a post by one of the site moderators, Dave Knight (aka Antiquarian). He talked about the finding, restoration and research on this object and I have invited him to post on my blog.


“A couple of months ago Jamie, (aka as Indy), found a badge at a site in Victoria, British Columbia. At that time, I had been detecting a hunting cabin site in the woods which had once belonged to RS McLaughlin. Here’s what he found:

Courtesy Dave Knight

I emailed Jamie about donating his badge to the McLaughlin Estate located here in Oshawa, Ontario and he generously agreed to mail it to me.

I sat on this project for a month periodically inspecting the badge under a jeweler’s loop to determine the metal’s stability. When I first received this piece I could see that it was made of cast brass, not stamped brass. Stamped would’ve made it much easier to straighten. I could also see that it had a couple of serious bends in the metal, so I decided that I would need to take my time if I was going to straighten it.

I started by placing the badge between two towels and gently manipulated the plate flat using a series of weighted hammers. When I was satisfied with the results, as I didn’t want to overwork the metal, I decided to tumble the badge for 48 hours.

For the first 24 hours I tumbled using ¾” gravel, beach sand and liquid soap, inspecting the badges progress and changing the mixture every 6 – 12hrs. The final 24hrs of tumbling was in ¼” – 3/8” gravel and dish soap. I’m relatively happy with the results as I didn’t want to over clean the piece. Here are the results:

Courtesy Dave Knight

McLaughlin Carriage Company’s Potted History

The McLaughlin Carriage Company was the largest carriage maker in Canada. The business was thriving, and even the emerging ‘horseless’ carriage craze couldn’t shake it. In a very humorous c1905 advertisement, an elegant McLaughlin buggy triumphs over the ‘fallen contraption.’

Picture from Wikepedia

I also include a picture of the McLaughlin Carriage Company in Vancouver. The badge found by Jamie was (perhaps) originally attached to the ‘horseless carriage’ that they sold.


The first automobile McLaughlin produced was the 1908 Model F. Until 1914, the cars were painted with the same paints and varnishes used on carriages. This meant each vehicle required up to fifteen coats of paint!

It is known that In 1936 a McLaughlin-Buick was purchased by the Prince of Wales. Vehicles were used on many occasions like the visit of US President Franklin Roosevelt’s to Victoria.

Two McLaughlin-Buick Phaetons were built for the 1939 Royal tour, one of these vehicles later carried Prince Charles and Princess Diana during their 1986 visit to Canada.


I am now thinking a more appropriate place for this badge to be donated would be to the Canadian Automotive Museum located here in Oshawa, Ontario. I’ll likely approach the curator next week after touring their facility. I want to be assured this is the appropriate place for the badge and that it will be put on permanent display.” Dave

Sid thinks it came off a 1916 Tourer. He could be right!


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19 responses to Canadian Badge Restoration

  1. Thanks John, a very interesting article, which I confess, I have only taken a quick run through. It has whet my appetite to read in in greater depth when I get back from my daily jaunt down to Hayle to feed a family of gulls.

    Your high standard never changes.

  2. A cracking, wee springboard article, John! These finds are such lovely little recent-history-magnets! Impressive restoration; as the man says, cast brass… I note that Robert McLaughlin had a magnificent beard as well…

  3. I am so glad I waited for a couple of hours to read this in full, it is as interesting and informative as I felt it would be. What particularly was good reading for me was how Dave flattened the badge, and cleaned it, not a thing I have done with any of my finds, me being somewhat of a whimp when it comes to such risks.

    The historical detail is fascinating, and illustrates how important it is not to discard anything which can be researched, as happened in this case.

    My thanks go to both Jamie and Dave for posting the article on your blog, and also to your good self for kindly allowing them to Thank you for furthering my education yet more.

  4. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 26th February 2018 at 12:38 PM

    Well done Dave!

    It’s so true John about the lack of age in our finds, especially when you consider Twinings is older than our country. Hahahaha…….

    We do manage to pull a few old Reales every now and again, but our history lacks the breadth and duration of GB.

    Finds like Dave’s are quite exciting, especially when you consider all the work he puts into his finds both from the restoration process, and the back story.

    Thanks for posting about one of our own.

    • Hi John, I read your comments with interest. Although you are younger than we Brit’s are, you are at an advantage. What you are finding now, we will never be fortunate enough to find, unless we can visit your great country. Your history is now coming out of the ground, in much the same way as ours has done ever since folk started to take enough time to look for it, and that includes the inception of that well worn tool the metal detector. The more you find the greater will be the urge to find more, will become the amount on display in museums for future generations to view in years to come.

      I must admit to being envious of you, and your fellow detectorists, for the way in which you are all building a new generation of archaeology, which can only be good for spreading the understanding of the history of the widening World we share. Many thanks to you. .

  5. interesting but I couldn’t help thinking of ‘McLaughlin’s Frozen Porridge’ from the Marty Feldman film ‘every home should have one’ back in 1970

  6. I have always enjoyed Dave’s posts. Puts a lot of time & effort into each and everyone of them, to the photos he posts, making you feel you are right there with him to the things he finds & cleans up and then investigates what they are, He does a fantastic job, glad you brought this one up John.

    Copper Hound

  7. I can well remember the time when Alice and I owned, and drove, an old McLaughlin buggy, John.We got a lt of looks, and a lot of comments, by old folks. It brought back many memories for them. Alice would rive right through downtown Victoria to pick me up where I worked at the hospital.Such good memories for me too.

    Thank you for posting this John.. And thank you to Dave and Jamie for their unselfish acts in donating it to the museum


  8. Thanks John another good read. I’m a big fan of Canada and all stories about this wonderful country and its people always stops me in my tracks.
    Thanks for sharing

  9. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this restoration with your readers John! I have yet to approach the curator at the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, as I’ve been busy with work and travel lately. My intention is to hopefully donate this piece in the month of March now that the snow has finally melted here in Southern Ontario.

    I will let you and your readers know when this happens and how it was received. It was very nice to see a couple of our Canadian Metal Detecting website members (John & Micheal), commenting on this article. Thanks again for this opportunity and for all of your readers thoughtful comments.

    Dave – “Antiquarian’ Knight

  10. Thank you for the comment Amechi.

  11. That definitely looks to be the one, thanks very much for the pic link Sid!

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