Monday, April 21, 2008

1915 and 1917 Fords were at the show too!

Thanks to Tere for the first 3 photos, I missed taking them entirely

I learned a lot about these early Fords: the 1916 was the last "brassie" as WW1 limitations on brass meant it wasn't going to wasted adorning autos for aesthetics when it was needed for rifle cartridges, but Henry used all the parts on the shelf as long as they lasted instead of turning them over for scrap to the war effort (which must not have been as vociferous during WW1 as it was in WW2)... so this 1917 has brass wheel hubs left over from the the previous years model. .. however, look at the difference in the front look of these 2 Fords due to black paint instead of shined brass.

I've never seen either of these the speedometer or the red pedal

The right pedal is to engage forward, the middle is to engage reverse, the left is to brake the trans drum... not the tires or wheel hubs, as only the rear tires had any brakes and those are engaged by the hand brake. I am intrigued.. (maybe I'm the only one?) by these early controls that the common person has never learned, and would have no idea how to operate. The owner was telling me that he had 7 early cars like this, and none of them even started the same way.

I happen to love history and years ago found a great pair of books, "Only Yesterday, an informal history of the 1920's" and "Since Yesterday" which covered the 1930's. In the first chapter is this desription of how to start an ordinary car of 1919... and was telling the owner about the book, which I just learned is online, so here is the excerpted part about how to start a car in 1919..

If Mr. Smith's car is one of the high, hideous, but efficient model T Fords of the day, let us watch him for a minute. He climbs in by the right-hand door (for there is no left-hand door by the front seat), reaches over to the wheel, and sets the spark and throttle levers in a position like that of the hands of a clock at ten minutes to three.

Then, unless he has paid extra for a self-starter, he gets out to crank. Seizing the crank in his right hand carefully (for a friend of his once broke his arm cranking), he slips his left forefinger through a loop of wire that controls the choke. He pulls the loop of wire, he revolves the crank mightily, and as the engine at last roars, he leaps to the trembling running-board, leans in, and moves the spark and throttle to twenty-five minutes of two. Perhaps he reaches the throttle before the engine falters into silence, but if it is a cold morning perhaps he does not. In that case, back to the crank again and the loop of wire. Mr. Smith wishes Mrs. Smith would come out and sit in the driver's seat and pull that spark lever down before the engine has time to die.

Finally he is at the wheel with the engine roaring as it should. He releases the emergency hand-brake, shoves his left foot against the low speed pedal, and as the car sweeps loudly out into the street, he releases his left foot, lets the car into high gear, and is off. Now his only care is for that long hill down the street; yesterday he burned his brake on it, and this morning he must remember to brake with the reverse pedal, or the low-speed pedal, or both, or all three in alternation. (Jam your foot down on any of the three pedals and you slow the car.)A few states like California and New York permit a rate of thirty miles an hour in 1919, but the average limit is twenty (as against thirty-five or forty in 1931). The Illinois rate of 1919 is characteristic of the day; it limits the driver to fifteen miles in residential parts of cities, ten miles in built-up sections, and six miles on curves. Terrific books, I highly recommend them.

Below is a Hassler pancake spring, which were necessary on all corners to keep the very top heavy car from tipping as much as it would like.