General Posts

Henry Ford ingenuity at it’s finest…

It’s amazing what one can create from “junk”…

A couple of hours in the shed and I came up with this rechargeable 12 volt LED flashlight, nothing more than a plywood box, a sealed gel battery, a metal toilet roll holder, and some bolts and screws, and of course an LED lamp – scrounged from a tractor that didn’t need it!

Specs…

Battery: 12 Volt, 7.2AH, Sealed Gel Battery

Lamp: 12 Volt, 12 Watt LED Lamp

Fuse: 10 Amp Blade Fuse




Richard Hammond Drives the Ford Model T – Top Gear

We all know it was a big-seller, the car that put the world on wheels and all that stuff, but it was, it really was.

In just 15 years, from 1908, Ford went from producing 10,000 cars a year to making two million per year, thanks largely to the Model T.

Fifteen million were made in the United States, and many, many more were made elsewhere – 300,000 in Manchester. They were cheap, they were simple, they were the butt of a million jokes, they had a crap nickname, “Tin Lizzie” and they were flat-out at 45mph. They were still produced right up to 1927, by which point they were already looking like a museum piece. But being plentiful, simple and cheap has in no way whatsoever detracted from their heart-melting charm.

It is a pure distillation of the essence of ‘car’. Looking at it, standing on the tarmac, brass headlamps seemingly blinking in the sunlight, it is clearly still revelling in the business of being a car, bubbling over with joy at the idea of being a machine that is somehow alive, ready to move you, your friends and family about as if by magic.

I go giddy even standing near these things. To climb into one is to step up into a film, a fantasy world, and there’s a real sense lingering, even today, of the car’s amazing new potential, the thrill of it all. And when this thing was new, it really was, as far as most people were concerned, “the car”. By 1913, Ford was outproducing the rest of the world’s carmakers put together, and this is what it was making.

Much has been made of how tricky a Model T is to drive: Jeremy and I made this point in our Perfect Road Trip DVD last year by parking one outside our hotel in Monte Carlo, secure in the knowledge that when we returned, it wouldn’t have been moved on and parked elsewhere in favour of a more glamorous, expensive machine because the valet parkers simply couldn’t get it started, let alone persuade the thing to move. And it’s true: the controls are all different.

This is from the early days of cars, when it was still called motoring, when the traditions and rules of car design and ergonomics hadn’t yet formed. And, as a result, the designers just had a stab at what they thought was the best set-up for operating a car.

The right pedal operates the brakes, the middle selects reverse, the left one can be depressed or lifted to switch between the two speeds and, on some models, the brake lever to the right also selects an overdrive. The accelerator is on the steering wheel and the horn doesn’t even make it inside, being stuck on top of a lamp outside.

Yes, it’s confusing at first – yes, there is a very large chance that a first drive of one will end up in a tree – but once you’ve got used to it, the whole thing works and soon becomes second nature. Until, of course, something goes wrong, at which point an instinctive driver’s reaction will have you lifting off the brakes and engaging reverse with your braking foot whilst changing down to first with your clutch foot. Which probably won’t solve the problem unless it’s a very, very unusual and specific one.

But if a problem doesn’t arrive, driving a Model T is as delicious and wonderful a thing as looking at one. The 2.9-litre side-valve engine putters and sputters like a cartoon, the transmission makes old movie whines and grindings, but it all works, really, really well. It had to.

Driving was tough in 1908: as most of the roads were unpaved, it had to be an off-roader as well as a plaything, a sports car and a limo, and it could do all of these things with a confidence and assuredness that belies its fragile, spindly looks.

Moving off, I quickly get it up into the second of its two gears, and it drops into a gentle lope, low revs from the torquey engine punting it along towards its 45mph top speed. The brakes work, the suspension works, the seats are comfortable, the view over the bonnet is beguiling, and I grin until it hurts. I don’t believe there is a happier, more alive little car to drive than one of these.

They’re not expensive; there were millions of them, after all. They’re simple to maintain, although there are stories of people leaving them unused and the car rewarding the owner’s neglect by sticking its belts to its drive wheels and firing off through the door and possibly over the owner themselves at the first turn of the cranking handle.

I would love to have one, and I shall do so one day. If you like cars at all, I strongly advise you to seek out an opportunity to have a go. Take someone with you to photograph your grin at the moment you suss how to drive it. It’ll be a peach.


250,000 Visitors to the “How to Start & How to Drive” video on YouTube!

Well I’m thrilled to announce that my very first Model T video on YouTube; “My 1925 Ford Model T – How to Start & How to Drive” has achieved 250,000 views – yes – a quarter of a million views!

Who would have thought the Model T could be so popular! :) All I can say is a big THANKYOU to all my subscribers and fellow Model T enthusiats!


Vintage Stationary Engines, Traction Engines and Tractors at Primex

As well as having an interest in the Ford Model T, I also like old engines and tractors — in this video, I was at the Primex Field Days in Casino, NSW, where I encountered a collection of stationary hit and miss engines, a one-third scale steam powered traction engine, and a collection of vintage tractors – in particular, a shotgun cartridge-started Field Marshal.
Enjoy the video :)

Henry Ford and the Ford Airplane Company

Ford, like other automobile companies, entered the aviation business during World War I, building Liberty engines. After the war, it returned to auto manufacturing until 1925, when Ford acquired the Stout Metal Airplane Company.

Ford’s most successful aircraft was the Ford 4AT Trimotor, often called the “Tin Goose” because of its corrugated metal construction. It used a new alloy called Alclad that combined the corrosion resistance of aluminum with the strength of duralumin. The plane was similar to Fokker’s V.VII-3m, and some say that Ford’s engineers surreptitiously measured the Fokker plane and then copied it. The Trimotor first flew on June 11, 1926, and was the first successful U.S. passenger airliner, accommodating about 12 passengers in a rather uncomfortable fashion. Several variants were also used by the U.S. Army. Ford has been honored by the Smithsonian Institution for changing the aviation industry. 199 Trimotors were built before it was discontinued in 1933, when the Ford Airplane Division shut down because of poor sales during the Great Depression.

Willow Run

President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to Detroit as the “Arsenal of Democracy”. The Ford Motor Company played a pivotal role in the Allied victory during World War I and World War II. With Europe under siege, the Ford company’s genius turned to mass production for the war effort. Specifically, Ford developed mass production for the B-24 Liberator bomber, still the most-produced Allied bomber in history. When the planes started being used in the war zones, the balance of power shifted to the Allies.

Before Ford, and under optimal conditions, the aviation industry could produce one Consolidated Aircraft B-24 Bomber a day at an aircraft plant. Ford showed the world how to produce one B-24 an hour at a peak of 600 per month in 24-hour shifts. Ford’s Willow Run factory broke ground in April 1941. At the time, it was the largest assembly plant in the world, with over 3,500,000 square feet (330,000 m).

Mass production of the B-24, led by Charles Sorensen and later Mead Bricker, began by August 1943. Many pilots slept on cots waiting for takeoff as the B-24s rolled off the assembly line at Ford’s Willow Run facility.


My ride on Steam Locomotive LVR 3237 “Lachlan”, 100 Years of Rail in NSW

 

Steam Locomotive LVR 3237 “Lachlan” – Steam Train Ride

Celebrating 100 Years of Rail in New South Wales

So today I took a ride on this 121 year old train from Taree to Killawarra, NSW — lots of fun, enjoy the video :)

  • 4-6-0 Configuration
  • 105.5 Ton Locomotive & Tender
  • 9.65 Tons of Coal
  • 16,425 Litres (4,339 US Gal) of Water
  • 160psi Boiler Pressure
  • 2 Outside Cylinders

3237 “Lachlan” is one of the four surviving C32 class locomotives. 3237 was built in the United Kingdom by Beyer Peacock & Co in 1892 and came into service in Australia on the 26th of February, 1893. the Loco was originally numbered P 508 but became 3237 in the NSWGR 1924 renumbering scheme. The loco worked mainline runs around NSW, while its original use was as a passenger express locomotive, it was also used for light freight. For the last part of its working career 3237 was based at Dubbo’s locomotive depot, alongside 3102T now preserved in Canberra. 3237’s last duties were to work reclamation trains and as a yard shunter in Dubbo. The loco was withdrawn on 1 November 1971. Its last day in steam for the NSWGR was 3 November 1971, when it was sent light engine from Dubbo to Enfield for storage. In its 78 years of revenue service, from 26 February 1892 to 1 November 1971, 3237 “Lachlan” ran a total of 3,581,150 kilometres or 2,225,224 miles.

 


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