Mystery of the Pyramid (Hubcap)

I have two of these threaded hubcaps, but I have never been able to determine what vehicle they were on originally.

The logo in the center looks like a pyramid, and in researching that angle I discovered that there was a truck called the Red Pyramid Speed Truck. It was a product of the Service Motor Truck Company of Wabash, Indiana and was introduced in 1920.

The truck was said to be the result of four years of development, although that time span was interrupted by World War I when the Service Motor Truck factories were busy producing Liberty B trucks for the war effort.

It was advertised with the tagline “An Even Load on Any Road” due to being “scientifically cushioned,” meaning it had a unique front spring suspension. The following description was taken from a 1921 issue of The Motor Truck:

“At the front end of the truck a semi-elliptic spring is mounted crosswise, the end being carried on the axle and the center supporting the frame. This spring is pivoted on its central point, so that the front axle is perfectly free to move about this pivot. The entire truck, with this suspension, is carried on a three-point support which, in fact, cushions body, hood, radiator, seat, and steering mechanism against strains and twisting.”

This illustration accompanied the article and showed that, although the wheels were badly out of line, the twisting or strain was on the front springs, a system that was intended to result in a smoother ride.

The truck, capable of carrying loads of up to 2500 pounds, was equipped with a 32-hp OHV Midwest engine that could attain speeds of 40-45mph on good roads. Many more specifications are listed in the 1922 advertisement below.

Here are a couple of photos of the trucks that appeared in 1921 and 1922 publications, respectively.

My hubcaps are made of cast aluminum, so that would indicate some age, and the logo is similar to that of the Red Pyramid Speed Truck, but I have been unable to confirm if my caps have any connection to that early truck. If you have any information about these hubcaps, I would love to hear from you. Email me at

The Easy-On Cap, Part of Eaton History

Eaton has manufactured parts for automobiles since the early days of the American automobile industry. The company was initially founded in 1911 by Joseph Oriel Eaton as Torbensen Gear and Axle Company to manufacture the first gear-driven truck axle. Originally located in New Jersey, the company moved to Cleveland in 1915. In 1916, it was incorporated as the Torbensen Axle Company.

The old cap pictured above is interesting for the inscription on the inside which is a part of Eaton’s history and also helps to pinpoint the date of manufacture. It is difficult to make out in the photos, but it reads, “THE EATON AXLE & SPRING CO. EASY-ON CAP DIV.”

The Torbensen Axle Company had become the Eaton Axle & Spring Company in 1923. Throughout the twenties and thirties, the company acquired other concerns involved in the automotive business, and one of those acquisitions was the Easy-On Cap Company. The Easy-On Cap had been invented by Dr. J. S. Reid of the Cleveland Health Department who had been looking for something more efficient than the threaded cap and came up with the Easy-On which was fastened by a simple half-turn. When Eaton purchased the company in July of 1928, the company was making about one million caps per month including gas, radiator, and oil caps. The Eaton company underwent another name change in 1932 when it became the Eaton Manufacturing Company, so the cap pictured must have originated sometime between the 1928 purchase of Easy-On Cap and the 1932 name change from Eaton Axle and Spring.

The Metal Polisher’s Union was apparently peeved at Easy-On for some reason in 1929, but Easy-On was in good company with Stant, Louisville Slugger and Winchester Repeating Arms also appearing on the Union’s plaintive “We Do Not Patronize” list:

The 1926 Nash came equipped with Easy-On oil and gas caps, and one automobile that featured a stock Easy-On radiator cap was the Silver Anniversary 1929 Buick.

By 1934, it was reported that one-third of American automobile manufacturers used Eaton bumpers, springs, and valves. A 1961 story about the company’s 50th anniversary said there was at least one Eaton-made part in every American-made truck and car on the road. The Eaton company underwent additional name changes before becoming the Eaton Corporation in 1971, but whatever it calls itself, it has played an important role in the history of the American automobile.

Starting 1953 with an Allstate Engine Under the Hood and Allstate Gas in the Tank

The name “Allstate” likely makes you think of the insurance company that was founded in 1931 by Sears, Roebuck and Co., but Sears also applied the brand to a wide variety of car parts and accessories. The ubiquitous Allstate brand was even applied to rebuilt engines as seen in this 1953 advertisement with advice for starting the new year . . .

. . . . as well as gasoline as seen in this 1952 advertisement:

The Allstate brand came into existence in 1925 as the result of a name-finding contest that generated a massive response from the public. The name being sought was for a new Sears tire, and nearly one million entrants provided over two million suggestions. An army of mail openers was required to process the mountain of mail that flowed in from every state in the union and around the world, written in 25 different languages. Twenty-year-old Hans Simonson of Bismark, North Dakota, dreamed up the winning name of “Allstate,” and was rewarded with the first prize of $5,000. The clipping below shows Simonson on the right above a photo of the mail sorters sifting through the contest entries.

In addition to the many Allstate parts and accessories, Sears slapped the Allstate brand on an entire automobile in 1952. Manufactured by Kaiser-Fraser, the Allstate was a revamped Henry J and was offered in two lines with the same 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines that also powered the Henry J. The Allstate’s grille was somewhat different and featured two horizontal bars as seen in the photo below. Notice also the Allstate badge on this survivor on display at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska:

Despite being the lowest-priced full-size sedan in the country and going 30-35 miles per gallon, the Allstate was not popular with the car-buying public and was only produced in 1952 and 1953. The insurance company, no longer owned by Sears, is all that remains of the Allstate brand.

1952 Allstate