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Kissel

Founded on June 5th, 1906 in Hartford, Wisconsin, The Kissel Motor Car Company was an American automobile manufacturing company that primarily built custom, special-purpose automobiles.  Kissel manufactured everything from hearses, fire engines, taxicabs, and other utility vehicles, to automobiles known as “...Kissel Kars”.  Only 150 of the 35,000 Kissel Kars the company manufactured are in known existence today.

The Kissel Kar reached the national media when Hollywood actress Anita King drove a donated Kissel Kar across the country in 1915.  She was the first woman to have ever driven such a distance on her own.  In 1919, Kissel produced the extremely popular, two-passenger Speedster, which became known as the Gold Bug.  Actor Fatty Arbuckle and aviator Amelia Earhart both owned 1919 Kissel Speedsters, which further promoted the company’s name.  Kissel released a sportier version of the Speedster, the White Eagle Speedster, in 1927.

At the time, Kissel was using what is now the Mercury logo.  Simultaneously, Henry Ford was looking to introduce a new line of automobiles, for which he needed a logo.  He purchased the logo from Kissel, which became the Mercury logo still used today.  In 1942, Kissel was purchased by the West Bend Aluminum Company.

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