Ford Model T Blog

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Why the Ford Model T Was so Important

Before the Model T, most cars cost lots of money. Only people with lots of money could afford them. Even Ford’s cars before the Model T cost a lot of money. The model t went for around $980. A car built in 1903 called the Oldsmobile Curved Dash was very easy to buy, but was a very simple and slow car that was more like a buggy than a car.

The man who owned the company, Henry Ford, heard about meat being packed on an assembly line, which moved meat from worker to worker so that the meat could be cut up. No one had ever thought to use an assembly line to put cars together. Ford knew that if he built his cars on an assembly line instead of one at a time like other cars, he could make a car that anyone could afford and would be built like cars that cost more money. He also knew that he could pay his workers lots more money.

The Ford Model T car was designed by Henry Ford, Childe Harolde Wills and two Hungarian men named József Galamb and Eugene Farkas. The Model T had a 177 cubic inch (2.9 L) four-cylinder engine producing 20 horsepower (15 kW) for a top speed of 45 miles per hour (72 km/h). The engine had side valves and three main bearings. Fuel economy was 14 to 21 miles per gallon (6 to 9 km/l), an excellent number even today.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

The Ford Model T, In the Beginning…

Henry Ford began building the Model T in his Piquette factory on October 6, 1908 as a 1909 model. Workers from all over the world wanted to work for Ford because of the good pay. Workers could even save their money for a Model T of their own. The price of the Model T dropped over the years, making it even easier to buy.

Work began at one end of the assembly line, starting with an empty chassis. From there, the chassis moved slowly down the assembly line. Workers on the assembly line added parts to the chassis. Before long, a new Model T rolled off the other end of the line. Different body styles were available, even a truck, or Model TT. At first, the only color available was black. Black paint was used because it was cheaper than other paints and Ford was obsessed with increasing profit. As car paint got better over the years, Ford began offering other colors. The time it took a chassis to become a finished car was over twelve hours when the first Model T’s were built. By the time the last Model T came off of the line, Ford had so many auto plants it was making one car every 40 seconds!

Even though the Model T sold for little money, Ford used the best materials he could buy to make his car. Most roads in the Model T’s day were dirt, gravel or even mud. That meant the Model T had to be very strong, and it was. The wheels and tires were very tall and skinny so that they could sink into mud roads and not get stuck. It was also very simple.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

Model T Mishap…

Here’s a laugh for you all…

So as you all know, I took my Model T to Weekend on Wheels in Taree on Sunday 26th May, incidentally, this was the same day in 1927 that the Ford Model T ceased production.

Anyway, I was about 300 metres (1000ft approx) from the entrance gate to the showground, and guess what… splutter cough cough “Oh crap!”, I ran out of fuel, not a single drop left in the tank! So I guess now I’m officially a member of the Model T owners club!

It was fortunate I was able to flag down a *modern* car owner, who gave me a tow to the nearest fuel station less than 3km away, (roughly 2 miles).

I will definitely be more careful in future!

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

The Price of a Ford Model T – 100 Years Ago

The standard 4-seat open tourer of 1909 cost $850 (equivalent to $20,709 today), when competing cars often cost $2,000–$3,000 (equivalent to $48,726–$73,089 today); in 1913, the price dropped to $550 (equivalent to $12,181 today), and $440 in 1915 (equivalent to $9,521 today). Sales were 69,762 in 1911; 170,211 in 1912; 202,667 in 1913; 308,162 in 1914; and 501,462 in 1915. In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months’ pay.

By the 1920s, the price had fallen to $290 (equivalent to $3,289 today) because of increasing efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume. Henry employed vertical integration of the industries needed to create his cars.

Read the full price list here… Model T Ford Price List


Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

My 1925 Ford Model T gets Noticed in Taree, NSW

On the way home from Weekend on Wheels in Taree, and my Model T gets noticed by Bridget and her family, who were very enthusiastic about my 88 year old Model T 🙂

They were excited at the opportunity to go for a ride 🙂 ….

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

Ford Model T Mass Production and the Assembly Line

The knowledge and skills needed by a factory worker were reduced to 84 areas. When introduced, the T used the building methods typical at the time, assembly by hand, and production was small. Ford’s Piquette plant could not keep up with demand for the Model T, and only 11 cars were built there during the first full month of production. More and more machines were used to reduce the complexity within the 84 defined areas. In 1910, after assembling nearly 12,000 Model Ts, Henry Ford moved the company to the new Highland Park complex.

As a result, Ford’s cars came off the line in three-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, reducing production time by a factor of eight (requiring 12.5 hours before, 93 minutes afterwards), while using less manpower. By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car. That year Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923; more than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually, more than any other model of its day, at a price of just $240. Model T production was finally surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle on February 17, 1972.

Henry Ford’s ideological approach to Model T design was one of getting it right and then keeping it the same; he believed the Model T was all the car a person would, or could, ever need. As other companies offered comfort and styling advantages, at competitive prices, the Model T lost market share. Design changes were not as few as the public perceived, but the idea of an unchanging model was kept intact. Eventually, on May 26, 1927, Ford Motor Company ceased production and began the changeovers required to produce the Model A.

Model T engines continued to be produced until August 4, 1941. Almost 170,000 were built after car production stopped, as replacement engines were required to service already produced vehicles. Racers and enthusiasts, forerunners of modern hot rodders, used the Model T’s block to build popular and cheap racing engines, including Cragar, Navarro, and famously the Frontenacs (“Fronty Fords”) of the Chevrolet brothers, among many others.

The Model T employed some advanced technology, for example, its use of vanadium steel alloy. Its durability was phenomenal, and many Model Ts and their parts remain in running order nearly a century later. Although Henry Ford resisted some kinds of change, he always championed the advancement of materials engineering, and often mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.

In 2002, Ford built a final batch of six Model Ts as part of their 2003 centenary celebrations. These cars were assembled from remaining new components and other parts produced from the original drawings. The last of the six was used for publicity purposes in the UK.

Although Ford no longer manufacture parts for the Model T, many parts are still manufactured through private companies as replicas to service the thousands of Model T’s still in operation today.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

The Ford Model T – The Automobile of 1000 Uses…

Diverse applications in a world not yet widely paved, motorized, or electrified

When the Model T was designed and introduced, the infrastructure of the world was quite different from today’s. Pavement was a rarity except for sidewalks and a few big-city streets. (The sense of the term “pavement” as equivalent with “sidewalk” comes from that era, when streets and roads were generally dirt (mud during rainy periods) and sidewalks were a paved way to walk down them without getting dirty. In fact, this was a motive for segregating foot traffic from carriage traffic long before the speed of automobiles provided another motive.) Agriculture was the occupation of many people. Power tools were scarce outside factories, as were any power sources to run them; electrification, like pavement, was found usually only in larger towns and cities. Rural electrification and motorized mechanization were embryonic in North America and Europe, and nonexistent elsewhere.

Henry Ford oversaw the requirements and design of the Model T based on the realities of that world. Consequently, the Model T was (intentionally) almost as much a tractor and stationary engine as it was an automobile, that is, a vehicle dedicated solely to road use. It has always been well regarded for its all-terrain abilities and ruggedness. It could travel a rocky, muddy farm lane, ford a shallow stream, climb a steep hill, and be parked on the other side to have one of its wheels removed and a pulley fastened to the hub for a flat belt to drive a bucksaw, thresher, silo blower, conveyor for filling corn cribs or haylofts, baler, water pump (for wells, mines, or swampy farm fields), electrical generator, and countless other applications. One unique application of the Model T was shown in the October 1922 issue of Fordson Farmer magazine. It showed a minister who had transformed his Model T in to a mobile church, complete with small organ.

During this era, entire automobiles (including thousands of Model Ts) were even hacked apart by their industrious owners and reconfigured into custom machinery permanently dedicated to a purpose, such as homemade tractors, ice saws, or many others. Dozens of aftermarket companies sold prefab kits to facilitate the T’s conversion from car to tractor. In a world mostly without mechanized cultivators, Model Ts filled a vacuum. Row-crop tractors such as the Farmall did not become widespread until the 1930s. Like many popular car engines of the era, the Model T engine was also used on home-built aircraft (such as the Pietenpol Sky Scout) and motorboats.

Also, many Model Ts were converted into vehicles which could travel across heavy snows with kits on the rear wheels and skis where the front wheels were located. They were popular for rural mail delivery for a time. The common name for these conversions of cars and small trucks was Snowflyers. These vehicles were extremely popular in the northern reaches of Canada where factories were set up to produce them.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

1920’s Period Clothing…

Hi again!

So I’ve decided to go retro! I’ve bought some items of clothing in order to dress as a man may have done in the early 20’s.

My outfit isn’t quite complete, but here’s a picture of what I have so far…

Let me know what you think!

 

Mitch.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

Ford Model T Design Changes & Colors

 

Design changes

Early Ts had a brass radiator and headlights. The horn and numerous small parts were also brass. Many of the early cars were open-bodied touring cars and runabouts, these being cheaper to make than closed cars. Prior to the 1911 model year (when front doors were added to the touring model), US – made open cars did not have an opening door for the driver. Later models included closed cars (introduced in 1915), sedans, coupes and trucks. The chassis was available so trucks could be built to suit. Ford also developed some truck bodies for this chassis, designated the Model TT. The headlights were originally acetylene lamps made of brass (commonly using Prest-O-Lite tanks), but eventually the car gained electric lights after 1910, initially powered from the magneto until the electrical system was upgraded to a battery, generator and starter motor, when lighting power was switched to the battery source.

The Model T production system, the epitome of Fordism, is famous for representing the rigidity of early mass production systems that were wildly successful at achieving efficiency but that could accommodate changes in product design only with great difficulty and resistance. The story is more complicated; there were few major, publicly visible changes throughout the life of the model, but there were many smaller changes. Most were driven by design for manufacturability considerations, but styling and new features also played more of a role than commonly realized. In fact, one of the problems for the company regarding design changes was the T’s reputation for not changing and being “already correct”, which Henry Ford enjoyed and which was a selling point for many customers, which made it risky to admit any changes actually were happening. (The idea of simply refining a design without making radical visible changes would resurface, and score even greater production success, with the VW Type 1.)

Colors

By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Model T’s. However it was a monolithic bloc; Ford wrote in his autobiography that he told his management team in 1909 that in the future…

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”.

However, in the first years of production from 1908 to 1914, the Model T was not available in black but rather only grey, green, blue, and red. Green was available for the touring cars, town cars, coupes, and Landaulets. Grey was only available for the town cars, and red only for the touring cars. By 1912, all cars were being painted midnight blue with black fenders. It was only in 1914 that the “any color as long as it is black” policy was finally implemented. It is often stated that Ford suggested the use of black from 1914 to 1926 due to the cheap cost and durability of black paint. During the lifetime production of the Model T, over 30 different types of black paint were used on various parts of the car. These were formulated to satisfy the different means of applying the paint to the various parts, and had distinct drying times, depending on the part, paint, and method of drying.

 

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net