The Austin Badge
Herbert Austin started his motor car career with the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company
(the makers of the car) of Adderley Park, Birmingham. In 1906 he left the Wolseley
Company where he was responsible for the design of the cars and set up in business
to make motor cars on his own account and under his own name. He set up his factory
at Longbridge, Birmingham and even though it is now part of the Rover Group (BMW),
it will always remain 'The Austin' to enthusiasts.
The emblem that Austin chose as his badge was said to represent 'rapid, controlled,
wheeled motion'. An examination of the constituent parts show that the wings and
the stylised dust at the apex of the triangle signified speed. The road wheel on
an axle, seen edge on, represented motion, whilst it is surmounted by a steering
wheel and columns that controlled the whole affair.
The earliest Austin badge of this style was part of the pressing of the brass radiator,
and was deeper and narrower than the one illustrated. The later badge was first
used on the 1931 models. This badge was used until the late 1940s, and was then
superseded by the 'Flying A' and the words 'Austin of England' in chrome script.
There appears to be very little information on the origins of the 'Flying A', but
they became known as 'Kidney-slicers' (a reference to the injuries that could be
inflicted on wayward pedestrians). If you were lucky enough to own an A90 Atlantic,
then you had no less than two 'Flying A's', plus a stylised Austin Badge.
The Patrick Collection welcomes groups of enthusiasts and will give guided tours.
John Dolman also does an excellent slide presentation on a visiting basis. All he
asks for are his expenses. This could be of interest to local groups looking for
some winter entertainment for their members. For further details please contact
Keith Stevenson, who will be able to give you a contact number etc for this service.
Written by John Dolman, Museum Guide at the Patrick Collection, Kings Norton, Birmingham