We note that our car has some peculiar numbering on the back side of the radiator.
The radiator on our car is one of the few items that is branded by the actual manufacturer. Apparently this was NOT too common with “assembled cars” like our MICHIGAN. The Michigan Motor Car Company (and similar assembled car manufacturers) wanted their customers to believe in the fiction that the car was entirely made in Kalamazoo, by Michigan Motor Car Company. Candler avoided this sort of enforced anonymity. Who knows why? Maybe radiators came with a separate warranty to the manufacturer of the cars they went into? We will probably never know. About the only other items in the car that bear brand names is the steering gear/column/wheel/quadrant (GEMMER); the magneto (BRIGGS); the acetylene starter (Prest-O-Lite) and the demountable rims (Detroit Demountable Rims). Pretty much everything else I’ve examined is a mystery part.
A close-up of the Candler tag information reveals that our radiator has been stamped with three numbers. From top to bottom on the back of the radiator reservoir are stamped the numbers 3437 and then 3537. The number 3537 may be the chassis for our car (stamped on the right front spring mount) — Wait …. Full Stop…. Our car number MAY be 3537 or it might be 3531. O.K. It is probably 3531— take a look. (below) But if that is so, what is the number on the radiator? I think some funny business is going on here.
Perhaps the upper number, 3437, was a mistake, as the 4 looks like it was also stamped 3, but is mostly obliterated. Is this evidence of funny business with car production quantities? This company was playing fast and loose with representations regarding car production quantities and that fact, among others, eventually brought the business to bankruptcy. (This could be evidence of a 200 car increase in output — that didn’t exist in reality.) The next number is stamped on the Candler Radiator tag. It shows the number 7715. Perhaps this is an internal serial number for the Candler company to keep track of who was sold what, and how many. Again, we will probably never know.
A copy of a nearly contemporaneous brochure for the CANDLER RADIATOR CO. is attached below, along with a photo of the front of our radiator. Ours looks very much like the “Candler Special ‘King'”, but the bottom corners of the “King” are not clipped. Perhaps the radiator made for the MICHIGAN MOTOR CAR COMPANY was an exclusive design. What is apparent, when looking at photos of 1911, 1912 & 1913 Michigans, is that the radiator shape is absolutely consistent for all three years. The radiator shell materials are NOT consistent. There are painted radiators, like ours. And there are other cars that have brass or nickel plated radiator shells. My suspicion is that this was something done by later restorers to add some bling to the cars. Likewise for the brass “MICHIGAN” script or words appearing on the radiator screens / tubing sections of some cars. I am told by Steve Dickey that our radiator once had MICHIGAN painted on the flat upper reservoir section. No evidence of that remains. If there was something there, it appears to have been rubbed, polished, sanded or blasted completely away. Could it have been a decal?