Mar 24, 2024


 CHARLES YALE  KNIGHT  (1868 - 1940 )

Charles Y. Knight was not the name of an automotive company, but the inventor of the so-called valveless engine. Although Charles Knight had no technical training, he experimented with engines and their valves, as previous designs were noisy and unreliable. He even received several patents for his inventions. America's auto industry was less interested in the new engine, however, because at that time it could hardly satisfy customer orders with the production of conventionally powered vehicles and therefore saw no reason to get involved with the new technology.


very sought after  emblem with the KNIGHT name on it ( 1914 - 1919 )

One of the first companies to apply for a production license was Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in Stuttgart in 1909  further, also Panhard & Levassor and Hotchkiss in France, Minerva in Belgium, Laurin & Klement in Austria-Hungary and other companies also produced these engines under license.

In the U.S., the F.B. Stearns Company was the first to acquire a patent for this engine design in 1911, and the car with the new engine was so successful that sales doubled. 

It was followed in the years 1911 / 1912 by numerous companies such as Columbia, Stoddard Dayton, Atlas Engine Works, Lyons - Atlas , Edwards .

The most successful licensee was Willys. Production of the Willys Knight ceased in 1933 with a
total of around 417,370 vehicles having been produced during the twenty years.


early WILLYS KNIGHT emblem ( 1914 - 1919 )

Interestingly, Charles Knight managed to enforce the contract clause in the USA that all licensees always had to add his name "KNIGHT"  to the company name or th show a knight. And so it comes  that the American emblems are bearing the word "Knight" or showing a knight.

Willys KNIGHT emblem ( 1917 - 1928 )

 WILLYS KNIGHT also sold to Germany:

1928 advertisment in a German magazine explaining the Knight motor patent


1928 - 1929 WILLYS KNIGHT emblem, look at the knight helmet on top of the emblem

1929 - 1931 WILLYS KNIGHT emblem

Then the emblem became much simpler:

1929 - 1930 brass emblem (photo Mike Shears)

The truck emblem has also been simplified:

1929 -1930 truck emblem (photo Mike Shears)

 One of the first brands to install the Knight engine in the USA was STEARNS Company, then also known as STEARNS KNIGHT. They started  selling KNIGHT engines in 1911 and doubled sales figures with this  new engine.    

STEARNS KNIGHT emblem ( 1923 - 1928 )

STERLING KNIGHT was founded by James Sterling, who had previously worked successfully as an engineer at STEARNS KNIGHT. Less than 550 cars were built in 5 years.

STERLING KNIGHT ( 1921 - 1926 )

The FALCON KNIGHT was introduced in 1927. Only two years with the Knight engine, but around 200,000 cars sold !

FALCON KNIGHT emblem ( 1927 - 1929 )

The EDWARDS KNIGHT was a short lived company ( 1912 - 1913 ) so the emblem is very, very rare .

EDWARDS KNIGHT emblem of the Swigart collection ( photo M. Shears)

The HANDLEY - KNIGHT was another sohort lived company. Production of the Handley Knight automobiles was minimal.

HK  =  HANDLEY KNIGHT  (1921 - 1922)

MOLINE KNIGHT sales brochure showing the KNIGHT emblem


The production of the MOLINE KNIGHT continued in 1920 under the ( new ) name R & V Knight. This also explains why the knight is identical to the one on the MOLINE emblem:


1923 - 1924 R & V KNIGHT emblem ( showing Sir Galahad )

R & V KNIGHT emblem ( no more Sir Galahad ) c. 1924

The YELLOW KNIGHT company was quite successful as a bus manufacturer and offered the vehicle with the KNIGHT engine for 5 years.

the same knight weapon as seen on the Moline Knight and the R & V because the rights to the R & V company were sold to the Yellow Cab Company in 1923 ! (photo  M. Shears )

The STODDARD KNIGHT was one of the first user, but not very succesful (1912 - 1913 only) :

STODDARD KNIGHT emblem ( photo M. Shears )

In Europe  some French car makers like PANHARD and MINERVA  added two letters to the name:  SS  .These two letters are an abbreviation for "SANS SOUPAPES", which stands for valveless engines.

M 8 = MINERVA Eight cylinders  SS = valveless engine

If you can add more photos with "KNIGHT" radiator emblems, don´t hesitate to send them to me at:

so I can update this post.. Thank you.

Fore more radiator emblems see older posts or top right ( list of car makers ).

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