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.
GUEST POST BY DAVE KNIGHT
“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:
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:
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.’
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