FOR A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY OF THE LaSALLE AUTOMOBILE (click
HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL CADILLAC CREST
By Yann Saunders
Heraldic explanations of the composite parts of the Cadillac shield
are given in a small booklet that was first published by Cadillac, I
believe, in 1918, then again in 1919, 1922, 1943 and 1960 (I have three
of these booklets in my collection; there may have been more than five).
The Cadillac crest was described also in an advertising flyer published
by the Cadillac Automobile Company in 1962. However, as stated above,
Tony Laumet, aka "Antoine De la Mothe Cadillac", was no French
nobleman, nor did he marry into a noble family; this is historical fact.
The Cadillac coat of arms is a "fake"; it was designed by the
man himself; that too is historical fact.
Notwithstanding the above, the Cadillac crest was well devised and
stands up to heraldic scrutiny and interpretation. In the 1919 edition
of the booklets mentioned above, it was remarked that "the family
records of le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac are burned" and
that "just when or where he was born we shall never know".
However, in the 1943 and 1960 editions, Cadillac asserted "it is
fairly certain that he [Cadillac] was born on March 5, 1658, in a little
town in Gascony". So, it appears that some additional information
came to light between 1919 and 1943! It was asserted also, in error,
that "the armorial bearings [crest] of the Cadillac family"
were "older by four centuries than the coming of Columbus". As
will be seen, however, the truth is quite different.
In all three booklets Cadillac asserted also that "in all France
there are few families more ancient than the Cadillacs", a bold
statement considering the historical facts. The late Harry Pulfer, who
researched the Cadillac coat of arms in America, in the early seventies,
was not so emphatic. He said that its origins were "less
known" although he did assert, again in error, that the
"armorial bearings" of the Cadillac family "had been set
down in French heraldry".
In reality, however, thorough research conducted in France by historians
such as Jean Boutonnet of Castelsarrasin has not turned up any such
Cadillac family crest. There never was a Cadillac family in France until
Antoine Laumet himself decided to "invent" it around the turn
of the 17th century. The imaginary crest of that equally imaginary
family is an assemblage, or "montage", of bits and pieces of
heraldry that Laumet pieced together to achieve his own purpose. The
only authentic parts of the Cadillac crest used on Cadillac automobiles
for the better part of a century are the first and fourth quarterings.
These feature two pairs of three legless hen-blackbirds; in heraldry
they are known as "merlettes" [martlets, in English]; they are
the heraldic adaptation of the martin. These quarterings of the Cadillac
shield copy the authentic family crest of Baron Sylvester of Esparbes de
Lussan, Lord of Lamothe Bardigues. The latter crest still graces the
imposing wrought-iron gates of the Chateau of Bardigues, near
Castelsarrasin, where international Cadillac meets have been held
regularly for a number of years. The remainder of the Cadillac coat of
arms [i.e. the second and third quarters] are pure invention by Laumet-Cadillac.
For the information of SAH members, there are a new pages relating to
Cadillac insignia in "The (new) Cadillac Database" on the
Internet at this URL:
Mission Statement of
Cadillac LaSalle Club of Canada
The Mission of the Cadillac LaSalle Club of Canada is to assemble and
provide information for the preservation, maintenance and restoration of
the ?Classic Cadillac and LaSalle automobiles?, enabling future
generations the ability to enjoy these wonderful treasures of our history.
It has been organized on the Internet to incorporate the
vast geography of the Canadian landscape and the interests of all the
Canadian Cadillac/LaSalle owners. It is hoped that it will help to serve
as a conduit to reasonably priced classic Canadian cars and parts and to
provide a free exchange of information thereby improving communication
between Canadian Cadillac/LaSalle fanciers and other like minded people
throughout the world.
The Cadillac LaSalle Club of Canada has been incorporated as a
Cadillac trademarks used with written permission of General Motors.
©copyright 2003 Cadillac LaSalle Club of Canada