British Columbia Chauffeur Badges

A special thanks to Ron Garay, Don Schneider and Pierre Delacote for providing many of the badges pictured.

Quick Links:
Driver's Licences  |  Chauffeur Badge Gallery   |  Licence Gallery

To read more about the emergence of Chauffeur's Badges by 1911, visit the page on Driver's Licences via the links above! Otherwise, enjoy the gallery.
1911 & 1912
Issuing Statistics
Year
Bloc
Licences
1911:
1 to 209
209
1912:
210 to 554
345
There is some conjecture as to the origins of the 1911 and 1912 badges shown above as the 1911 Act does not make specific reference to the issuance of a metal "badge" to registered chauffeurs. However, it is known - from available records found at the BC Archives - that approximately 209 licences were issued in 1911 and that a further 345 licences were issued in 1912 (i.e. by starting at No. 210 and proceeding to No. 554). Both of the badges shown above display numbers that would correspond to these years, although it is no known why the province decided to change styles in 1912.

*     *     *     *     *
When the Act was amended in 1913, the definition of a "Chauffeur" was simplified to mean "any person operating or driving a motor as an employee or for hire", while Section 21 (Issuance of licence) was also amended to include reference to a "badge", specifically:
The Superintendent of Provincial Police shall, at the time of the issue of a licence under this section, also issue and deliver to each chauffeur so licensed a suitable metal badge having thereon the licence number assigned to such chauffeur:
(a)
Such badge shall be of a distinctly different colour for each year, and shall be valid only during the term of the licence of the chauffeur to whom it is issued as aforesaid:
(b)
This badge shall thereafter be worn by such chauffeur, affixed to the front of his hat or cap in a conspicuous place, at all times while he is operating, driving, or in charge of a motor upon a highway:
(c)
No chauffeur having been licensed as herein provided shall voluntarily permit any other person to possess or use his licence or badge; nor shall any person while operating, driving, or in charge of a motor use of possess any chauffeur's licence or badge belonging to another person, or a fictitious or invalid chauffeur's licence or badge:
(d)
In the event of the loss, mutilation, or destruction of a chauffeur's badge, such chauffeur may obtain from the Superintendent of Provincial Police a duplicate thereof or substitute therefor upon filing in the office of the Superintendent of Provincial Police an affidavit setting out the fact, and the payment of a fee of one dollar.

1913 - 1930
Don Schneider Collection
Issuing Statistics
Year
Bloc
Licences
1913:
1 to 1903
1,903
1914:
unknown
988
1915:
unknown
1,139
1916:
unknown
1,861
1917:
unknown
N/A
1918:
unknown
N/A
1919:
unknown
N/A
1920:
unknown
N/A
1921:
unknown
N/A
1922:
unknown
N/A
1923:
1 to 6000
N/A
1924:
1 to 6000
N/A
1925:
1 to 6000
5,342
1926:
1 to 6000
5,673
1927:
unknown
5,400
1928:
unknown
5,435
1929:
unknown
5,960
1930:
unknown
6,233



On August 24, 1914, the Superintendent of Provincial Police, Colin S, Campbell, wrote to advise Willis Stephenson & Company that their firm had won the contract to provide the 1915 Chauffeur badges, and that "3,000 (three thousand) Chauffeur Badges, as per sample, with enamel in red on bronze, badge and number in metal, numbered consecutively from one to three thousand (1 - 3,000) delivered f.o.b. this office; on or before the 15th. of November, 1914. as a price of Eleven Dollars and ninety cents ($11.90) per hundred (100)" would now be required. The Superintendent also added that "if it were possible to have the licence number in larger figures I think it would be an improvement, and the 19-15 could probably be placed in the corner at the end of "Chauffeur"."

At left is what is thought to be the standard badge issued in 1916. In the middle is a variation of the 1916 badge, while at far right is an example of a blank 1916 Chauffeur Badge that had likely been prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section 21(d) of the amended Act, which stated that, for the fee of $1.00, a chauffeur could obtain from the Superintendent of Provincial Police a duplicate or substitute badge.


Although the 1911 Act to regulate the Use and Operation of Motor-vehicles had required applicant's for a Chauffeur's Licence to submit two character references who could confirm their "fitness to hold a licence as chauffeur", in 1929 the Motor Vehicle Branch department of the Provincial Police was advising that "before granting a Chauffeur's Licence to an applicant who resides in a Municipality, please obtain from such applicant a certificate, signed by the Chief of Police of that Municipality, stating that the applicant is a fit and proper person to be granted a licence as a Chauffeur."

*     *     *     *     *
Under the Motor-vehicle Act Amendment Act 1930, the classification of Chauffeur's Licences into three distinct classes; 'A', 'B' and 'C' was introduced, specifically:
Class 'A':
entitled the holder to drive and operate every kind of motor-vehicle:
Class 'B':
entitled the holder to drive and operate any motor-vehicle having a seating capacity not exceeding seven passengers, inclusive of the driver, and any motor-vehicle used exclusively in the transporting of personal property:
Class 'C':
entitled the holder to drive and operate any motor-vehicle used exclusively in the transporting of personal property.
For those wishing to obtain with a Class 'A' or Class 'B' Licence, it was now necessary to pass an examination and provide certain certificates (Class 'C' Chauffeur's Licences were to be issued as before). These classifications came into operation on January 1, 1931. The fee for a Class 'A' licence was also set at $7.50; for a Class 'B' licence at $6.00 and for a Class 'C' licence at $4.00.
Wishing to "obviate a rush to the beginning of the year" the MVB had notified all chauffeur's to inform them of the Class of licence they would be applying for, after which they were directed to a location at which to sit their examination.

At left is an example of an application for a Class 'A' Chauffeur's Licence that was introduced in 1931.

By late November of 1930 the MVB was conceding that "in quite a few cases applicant's for Class 'A' and Class 'B' Chauffeur's Licences have failed in their written examination, and it will be necessary for them to take another examination and pass in the same before a 1931 Class 'A' or Class 'B' Chauffeur's Licence will be issued to them."
It was also noted that "as there seems to be come confusion in regard to the type of certificate required for an owner-driver, I beg to state that in such cases a certificate to the effect that such an applicant owns his own equipment, and stating the time he has been driving the same, will be sufficient for a Class 'B' Licence."
1931
Class 'B'
Ron Garay Collection - Class 'C' Badge
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
611
Class 'B':
unknown
1,270
Class 'C':
unknown
4,155
Manufacturer: unknown
Within the first few months of the new regime, numerous complaints had been lodged with the province regarding individuals "who have not complied with the Act and obtained chauffeur's licences for the class of equipment which they are operating, are being allowed to continue to drive motor-vehicles as chauffeurs."
This prompted the Assistant Commissioner of the BC Provincial Police to write "All Employers of Chauffeurs" on March 4, 1931, reminding them of the recent changes to the Act and advising that "instructions are being issued to all police to make a check-up of those persons who are operating as chauffeurs without the necessary licences and to prosecute in all such cases, both the person so operating and his employer."
1932
Class 'B'
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
542
Class 'B':
unknown
1,222
Class 'C':
unknown
4,203
Manufacturer: unknown
1933
Class 'A'
Class 'B'
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
524
Class 'B':
unknown
1,179
Class 'C':
unknown
4,030
Manufacturer: unknown
1934
Class 'B'
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
549
Class 'B':
unknown
1,277
Class 'C':
unknown
4,534
Manufacturer: unknown
1935
Class 'A'
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
612
Class 'B':
unknown
1,221
Class 'C':
unknown
5,650
Manufacturer: unknown
1936
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
700
Class 'B':
unknown
1,280
Class 'C':
unknown
7,106
Manufacturer: unknown
1937
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
804
Class 'B':
unknown
1,332
Class 'C':
unknown
9,048
Manufacturer: unknown
1938
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
863
Class 'B':
unknown
1,309
Class 'C':
unknown
9,274
Manufacturer: unknown
1939
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 1150
917
Class 'B':
1 to 1750
1,315
Class 'C':
1 to 10800
9,693
Manufacturer: unknown
The following passage comes from Before we were the land's - Yarrow, British Columbia: Mennonite Promise (Neufeldt, Sawatsky & Martens, 2002) and describes the process and need for obtaining a chauffeur's badge in the late 1930s:
On October 25, 1939, just after Rudy’s sixteenth birthday, Marten’s and Neufeld[t] had made an appointment for him with the Motor Vehicle Branch in Chilliwack to take a Class ‘C’ Chauffeur’s driving test (that was a licence to drive a truck) ... Now he riveted his first Class ‘C’ Chauffeur’s Badge onto his Chauffeur’s cap where he would proudly rivet on three or four more in the years to come.  ... A peaked chauffeur’s cap, the decorated belt and wide-waist bell-bottom (twenty-four inch) black pants were marks of distinction which the young truck driver wore with pride.  And ... the shirt sleeves had to be rolled up high and the shirt collar turned up.

Similar to the belt describe in the extract from Before we were the land's (see above), the belt shown here belonged to a Chauffeur who plied his trade in Nelson and Trail (both located in the Kootenay's) between 1941 and 1952. Apart from the neatness factor, we here at BCpl8s are thoroughly impressed with the fact that the belt last 12 years (they don't make 'em like they used to) and that its owner, despite driving vehicles for a living, did not appear to suffer from an expanding waistline during his career.

Ron Garay Collection

1940
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 1150
1,028
Class 'B':
1 to 1700
1,354
Class 'C':
1 to 10750
10,946*
Manufacturer: unknown
* Over-run
1941
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 1300
1,193
Class 'B':
1 to 1700
1,533
Class 'C':
1 to 10750
14,446*
Manufacturer: unknown
* Over-run
Ron Garay Collection - Class 'A' Badge
Ron Garay Collection - Class 'A' Badge
This is an example of one of those probably insignificant, yet interesting design quirks that sometimes can be found as a series progresses. In this instance, an extra hole is found in the higher issue 1941 Class 'A' badge shown at right. It is thought that this was done at the manufacturing stage given the preciseness of the hole.
1942
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 1400
1,322
Class 'B':
1 to 1800
1,722
Class 'C':
1 to 14000
17,605*
Manufacturer: unknown
* Over-run
The examples shown above are the paper version of the licences issued to chauffeurs with the one at left having been issued in 1942, and the one at right in 1947.
Badge Manufacturers
Ron Garay Collection
1931 - Class 'C'
Ron Garay Collection
1933 - Class 'C'
Ron Garay Collection
1934 - Class 'C'
One of the earliest manufacturer imprints on the BC Chauffeur Badges is that of The George H. Hewitt Company Limited of Vancouver, BC on the back of the 1931 Class 'C' Badge.
Between 1943 and 1971, it is known that the Hewitt Company would manufacture the Class 'A' and 'B' badges in a total of nineteen (19) different years, with another ten (10) years being contracted to the Superior Stamp Company of Vancouver. Interestingly, none of the Class 'C' licences in this period were never imprinted with the manufacturers name.
1943
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 1600
1,478
Class 'B':
1 to 2000
1,801
Class 'C':
1 to 17000
19,801*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
1944
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 1700
1,725*
Class 'B':
1 to 2100
1,942
Class 'C':
1 to 23000
19,448*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
Both the 1943 and 1944 Class 'C' badges were manufactured of fibreboard as a result of material rationing associated with the War Effort.
The use of fibreboard is not that unusual and was actually employed by a number of other jurisdictions during the war for the manufacture of vehicle license plates.

1945
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 2000
2,156*
Class 'B':
1 to 2200
2,573*
Class 'C':
1 to 21000
24,523*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
1946
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 2500
2,883*
Class 'B':
1 to 2700
3,577*
Class 'C':
1 to 24000
32,851*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
1947
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 3500
3,657*
Class 'B':
1 to 4000
4,384*
Class 'C':
1 to 36000
39,135*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
1948
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 4000
4,113*
Class 'B':
1 to 4500
4,774*
Class 'C':
1 to 40000
46,360*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run


This group of finely dressed young men are the drivers for the Vancouver News Agency and it is thought the photo was taken in 1948. Interestingly, it appears that the men on bended knee are displaying their chauffeur badges on the front of their caps.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives
Title: "Group portrait of Vancouver News Agency drivers"
Item No: CVA 1184-3083

1949
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 4500
4,909*
Class 'B':
1 to 5000
4,780
Class 'C':
1 to 45000
50,975*
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
1950
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 4800
5,094*
Class 'B':
1 to 5500
4,724
Class 'C':
1 to 50000
53,756*
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
* Over-run
1951
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 5500
5,108
Class 'B':
1 to 5500
4,724
Class 'C':
1 to 55000
49,787
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
The examples shown above are an application form for a 1951 Class 'C' license, followed by the actual paper version of the 1951 licence.
1952
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 5500
4,658
Class 'B':
1 to 5500
4,353
Class 'C':
1 to 50000
43,097
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1953
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 6000
4,622
Class 'B':
1 to 5500
4,229
Class 'C':
1 to 50000
42,980
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1954
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 5500
4,584
Class 'B':
1 to 5500
4,057
Class 'C':
1 to 50000
43,597
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1955
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
4,627
Class 'B':
unknown
4,011
Class 'C':
unknown
48,406
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1956
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
4,978
Class 'B':
unknown
4,243
Class 'C':
unknown
59,443
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1957
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,251
Class 'B':
unknown
4,269
Class 'C':
unknown
65,159
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1958
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,207
Class 'B':
unknown
4,112
Class 'C':
unknown
61,556
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1959
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,295
Class 'B':
unknown
4,485
Class 'C':
unknown
64,359
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1960
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,368
Class 'B':
unknown
4,756
Class 'C':
unknown
65,209
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1961
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,518
Class 'B':
unknown
4,825
Class 'C':
unknown
64,446
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1962
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,672
Class 'B':
unknown
5,010
Class 'C':
unknown
63,677
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1963
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
unknown
5,891
Class 'B':
unknown
5,320
Class 'C':
unknown
67,781
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1964
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 7100
5,910
Class 'B':
1 to 6300
5,432
Class 'C':
1 to 75000
72,484
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1965
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 7100
6,310
Class 'B':
1 to 6300
5,785
Class 'C':
1 to 75000
80,977
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1966
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 7800
7,059
Class 'B':
1 to 7300
6,435
Class 'C':
1 to 87000
83,853
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1967
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 8600
7,065
Class 'B':
1 to 7700
6,876
Class 'C':
1 to 95000
83,091
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1968
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 9300
7,972
Class 'B':
1 to 8200
7,078
Class 'C':
1 to 98000
83,323
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1969
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 12000
8,324
Class 'B':
1 to 10000
7,768
Class 'C':
1 to 99000
90,476
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
1970
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 12000
8,714
Class 'B':
25001 to 36000
8,459
Class 'C':
50001 to 150000
80,977
Manufacturer:
George Hewitt Ltd (Class 'A' & 'B')
1971
Issuing Statistics
Type
Bloc
Licences
Class 'A':
1 to 12000
8,433
Class 'B':
25001 to 36000
7,658
Class 'C':
50001 to 150000
91,723
Manufacturer:
Superior Stamp Co. (Class 'A' & 'B')
The following are a series of unissued Chauffeur's Badges from 1971 for each Class, and which shows how the badges were distributed and handled.

*     *     *     *     *
Interestingly, licencing data put out by the Province seems to indicate that there were approximately 82,506 Class 'C' licences issued in 1972. While we are not disputing this, we are not aware of any corresponding Class 'C' badges that might have been issued by the Province.

City Issues
1906 Hack Driver Licence No. 76 - thought to be from the City of Victoria (Delacote Collection)
1906 - City of Victoria (unconfirmed)
Jon Ilnytzky Collection)
1921 - City of Victoria
City of Vancouver Licence No. 329 (Delacote Collection)
1911 - City of Vancouver

1930 - City of Nanaimo

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