MG Octagon Logo

Octagon Newsletter April 1989

Author Unknown

Over the years many people have claimed to have had a hand in the design of the MG octagon insignia. From Cecil Kimber, who created the MG marque, to such people as the Daily Express cartoonist, Berry Appleby, Gordon Cosby of The Autocar magazine, plus the chief engineer at the MG Car Company from its earliest days, H.N. Charles. Mr. Charles was the chief engineer up until the time MG became a part of Morris Motors. The first known use of the octagon was in an advertisement in the March 1924 edition of the Morris Owner. At that time, Cecil Kimber was working for Morris Garages and was the instigator of having special modifications made to the production vehicles to suit the individual client's requirements.

To start with, these changes were minor in detail and the work was carried out in the dealership workshops. As many more customers came to ask for these various changes and additions to their vehicles, it soon became necessary to find different premises so that this work could be carried out separately, away from the regular repair and service facilities. Before finally acquiring the plant at Abingdon in late 1929, the MG Motor Co., as it now became known, had acquired four or five different locations throughout the Oxford area and each time being forced to move due to the lack of space. Due to all this constant expansion and moving, no complete records were maintained and those that were, stood a good chance of being mislaid in one of the moves. Thus it is understandable that one gets so many misleading and conflicting stories about the early days of the MG Car Company.

When it comes to the designer of the famous MG octagon badge, the credit must go to Ted Lee, MG's cost accountant. Ted started work in 1922 at Morris Garages when Cecil Climber was the general manager. Lee first showed the octagon to Cecil. He liked it and showed it to William Morris and Lee remembers Morris calling it "The best thing that has come into the company." It was used for the first time in the Morris Owner as an advertisement in the March 1924 edition.

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