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The Boyce Moto-Meter, patented in 1912, was a thermometer that read the temperature of the radiator's vapor.
Before the hood ornament came the motometer, an ornate thermometer affair that screwed into the radiator cap; it was intended to keep the driver informed of the engine coolant temperature.
With improved, thermostatic cooling, the motometer went out the window in the late twenties, to be replaced by sometimes very elegant hood mascots. These were offered initially by accessory houses then, in 1930, by Cadillac itself. The first automotive motometer was introduced by a Mr. Boyce in 1912. The fashion soon caught on. Cadillac added its famous script and coat of arms to it. When the temperature gauge was moved to the instrument panel, an empty space was left atop the radiator; the hood ornament filled it adequately.
January 23rd, 2013
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