Q&A with Kit Foster: October 24, 2013

qa-MonogramLights

Q.  Can you tell me what make and year these headlights go on? The lenses say “Monogram” and are 12 inches in diameter.

— Charles L. Jordan, Qulin, Mo.

A. I see several references online to Monogram Lens Corp. of New York City. One similar to yours is selling on eBay and identified as 1927 Nash, but I expect that several manufacturers used them. Does anyone recognize this light-and-bar assembly?

 

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Q. The car in question that appeared in Q&A for July 11 is neither a Winton nor a Davis. It is, in fact, a circa-1924 Wills Ste. Claire.  This car was designed by my great-uncle, Amos Northup, while he was their chief designer at the Wills factory in Marysville, Mich.

qa-Wills-Ste-Claire

The major distinction is the unique integrated housings for the headlamps and parking lamps. This was typical of the forward thinking of my great-uncle. Not well defined in the picture shown in the article is the circular company logo, a gray goose in flight, also of Amos’ creation. I have included some pictures, which illustrate these features.

— John Northup, Shelby Twp., Mich.

qa-WintonHood

A. The headlights aside, the exact shape of the radiator shell and the louver pattern on the hood (shown here, but not published with the earlier column) make me confident that the car in question is a Winton, not a Wills Ste. Claire. The lights, too, are slightly different. While both yours and the “Winton” lights have conjoined parking lights, the bezels differ in their contours, and the lenses have different patterns.

I consulted Donald Axelrod of Headlight Headquarters in Lynn, Mass. He says that the lights in your photo are the “Mirro-Tilt” brand, and have an electric solenoid to move the bulb socket for different beam patterns. There is a gap between the outer edge of the reflector and the circumference of the housing to allow for this movement. Franklin also used Mirro-Tilt lights, but without the parking lights attached.

He had a set of lights like those on the Winton, which were believed to be Marmon but were proved otherwise. He cautions about trying to identify lights by their lenses: “The lenses back then were sometimes a dealer-installed item. Many states had specific patterns that were approved and others that were not allowed. The manufacturers had to submit the lenses to the states for approval.”

qa-1921Winton

 

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

 

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