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The Bright Bumper – 1926 Patent and Further Details Discovered

1929 Packard Bumper with Driving Lights

In the recent article: A Pretty Woman – A 1929 Buick Roadster – A Bumper Mystery a great deal was learned about this bumper and lamp combo. Since then reader Tin Indian has uncovered more information that follows, along with the patent for the Combined Bumper and Headlight. Today, it is quite rare and a desirable accessory for classic cars built in the 1928-’31 period.

Albert W. Pattison of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was the inventor of the bumper, and filed a patent for it on August 20, 1925. Earlier on July 15, 1925, the Scranton Republican newspaper reported that Ada Bright and four other investors had filed the paperwork to incorporate The Bright Bumper Company. We assume that the bumper was named after Ada. 

  • The lead photo shows the “Packard Bright Bumper” in a 1929 “Packard Accessory Catalog” courtesy of West Peterson.

Bright Bar Bumper Patent

  • Patent application drawings for the Combined Bumper and Headlight granted to Albert W. Pattison on September 28, 1926, shows the details of the construction of the combined bumper and lamp unit.

Bright Bar Patent2

On June 10, 1926, New Castle News published in New Castle, PA, reported that after the Pennsylvania State Highway Department had endorsed the device, The Bright Bumper Company had leased a portion of an old knitting mill… (in New Castle)…. to turn out the bumpers. The endorsement followed a special trip by the inventor Albert W. Pattison, who made a special trip to Harrisburg to demonstrate the ‘Bright Bumper’ to Highway Department officials. 

The New Castle News reported on October 15, 1926, that a new industry is in operation here although the Auto Bumper Company production can not as of yet meet the demand for over 8,000 bumpers that had been placed….the material used in the bumper is malleable iron….the bumper is offered in a nickel-plated finish along with a black enameled version….the bumper carries a strong appeal to the motorist as it cuts beneath fog….. it is of interest of drivers, who are compelled to drive through curtains of darkness and fog-the bugaboo of drivers.

Further research here has turned up an article that points to the possibility that The Bright Bumper Company might have been unable to get the production facility up-to-speed, sold the design and patent or contracted the manufacturing out to the Warren Tool and Forge Co., of Warren, Ohio. Automotive Industries reported eight months after the New Castle News report above on June 18, 1927, that Warren Tool had introduced the ‘Bright Bumper’ and the ‘Bright Tubular Bumperettes’ that harmonize with the front bumper are provided. The 1929 Buick featured in the earlier post may have been fitted with these rear Bumperettes 

  •                                                                “Automotive Industries” June 18, 1927.

Bright Bumper Article

  • Warren Tool and Forge Co. advertisement in the “Motor” September 1927 issue, was the first of ads found in a number of different auto trade publications over a twelve month period.

Bright Bumpers

8 responses to “The Bright Bumper – 1926 Patent and Further Details Discovered

  1. Very interesting, Thank You.
    In this digital era it isn’t too difficult to imagine someone feeding the patent drawings into a 3D printer with the result being a reproduction of these bumpers. LED lights, of course.

  2. How were the lights turned off and on? Was the bumper connected to the car’s electrical system, or was there an on/off switch located on the bumper itself?

  3. Having watched almost every episode of American Pickers, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one or two of these around, still in their original box. I am amazed at all the new-in-box automotive parts that they find across the country.

  4. The REAR “bumperettes” SEEM to me like: “BACKUP LIGHTS” #1!, (which, of course became common in later decades, as a welcome feature for long driveways, etc .. ) The “copy ” explains their abilities, but I wonder if ANY of them offered a yellow tint in the glass lens, as an option that somewhere along the way, – became a “standard” for “foglights”. As to “the switch”: a common accessory item was the On-Off FUSED and notched – rotary switch, — which also housed a 6 Volt -3 c.p. PILOT LIGHT in its knob. The switch came with a bracket with a setscrew for the bottom LIP of the metal dashboard. It wasn’t common to wire accesory lights on the earlier Ignition Switch circuit, for ignition reliability’s sake, OR: the vehicle had a DUAL ignition system, such as Trucks & Fire Engines —which is WHY the switch has a pilot light “reminder”. This fused circuit is for Direct Battery Buss connection. Edwin.

  5. I cannot post a photo here but i was surfing the web and came across this bumper with red lights in it on the back of a Packard boatail at the clive cussler auto museum. They have a web page. The car is silver and red with a photo of the rear clearly showing this unique bumper.

  6. Posted for West Peterson:

    Anyway, since the two “Bright Bumper” posts have appeared, to which I’ve contributed some information and photos, I have since purchased two bumpers, one of them the NOS piece that was mentioned by Brian Harlamoff in a resonse on the post that included the 1929 Buick with the bumper. I have also purchased the parts to build a third bumper, and the parts to build the “rear bumperettes”, as mentioned in the Automotive Industries 1927 article.

    I’d like to answer a few of the questions that appeared in one of the Bright Bumper posts:

    1. How were the lights turned off and on?

    Included with the NOS bumper still packed in its original shipping box, was the wiring and a push pull light switch.

    2. The REAR “bumperettes” SEEM to me like: “BACKUP LIGHTS”

    There have been a few owners of Packards who have located a pair of the front Bright Bumpers and installed one of them on the back of the car. They then made red lenses to replace the clear lenses. These lights were meant and marketed for the front of the car. As mentioned in the Automotive Industries 1927 article, a rear “bumperette” was also offered, and it did not contain lights. (attached is a photo of the end pieces that I have recently purchased).

    Each of the bumpers that I have bought represent the two different ways in which they were offered. One of them is entirely nickel-plated. The other one has the black lights and brackets, and the pipe only is nickel plated.

    Also, There were two different types of lenses. One set of lenses were plain clear glass with faceted reflectors. The other set have smooth reflectors, and ribbed lenses. The ribbed lenses are much rarer to find, and … as you can imagine … practically impossible to replace if broken.

    The bumper lights are quite bright, and my son said they appeared brighter than the headlights even though the bulb used is similar (probably since the beam is much more focused).

    Since installing the bumper, I have received mixed opinions. Some people have told me it’s the ugliest thing to ever grace such a beautiful car. Others (not well versed in prewar cars, or old cars in general) say it looks like I went down to the local auto parts store and bought it. Others love it. The comments that it looks like a “Western Auto” aftermarket accessory really hurts, and may be enough for me to remove. I like it, but I’m thinking that the version that is fully plated may look a little less “Western Auto.”

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