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Ford Model T: Putting the World on Wheels

Putting the World on Wheels

In simple terms, the Model T changed the world. It was a powerful car with a possible speed of 45 mph. It could run 25 miles on a gallon of gasoline. It carried a 20-horsepower, side-valve four-cylinder engine and two-speed planetary transmission on a 100-inch wheelbase. Important to the long-term success of the Model T was Childe Harold Wills’ experimentation with the properties of vanadium steel, which resulted in the lightness and durability that was an important trademark of the Model T.

Mass Production Begins

In October 1913, mass production of the Model T began at Ford’s Highland Park, Michigan, Assembly Plant. Henry Ford had previously organized men and components to enhance Model T production, but the moving assembly line quickly improved chassis assembly speed from 12 hours and eight minutes to one hour and 33 minutes.

In 1914, Ford produced 308,162 cars, more than all other automakers combined. It was also in 1914 that the Model T, in the interest of streamlining production, was no longer available in red, blue, green or grey; it was now available in “any color so long as it is black.” Mass production did, however, allow for flexibility in the price tag. Introduced at $825 (for the Runabout), the Model T’s price dipped as low as $260 in October 1924.

Changing Times

Few things other than the price tag ever changed on the Model T: Electric lights were introduced in 1915, the radiator shell went from brass to black in 1916, and in 1919 an electric starter became an option on the closed cars. These would be the only modifications until the mid-1920s, when Henry Ford gave in to pressures to modernize the car and began experimenting with a series of changes.

End of an Era

The changes, though, were not enough to keep the Model T competitive, and Henry Ford finally decided it was time to cease production. After producing more than 15 million Model T’s, the assembly line stopped in May 1927. Five months later, on October 27, Ford Motor Company entered a new era as the first Model A rolled off the line at the Rouge Assembly Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Global Recognition

As the 20th century drew to a close, the Model T’s global significance was formally recognized and honoured. An international jury of automotive journalists and other experts elected the Ford Model T as the winner of the coveted Car of the Century award. The Ford Model T was selected for the significant innovation it represented in its day, as well as its design and its impact on both the auto industry and society itself.

As of 2008, 100 years after Ford Motor Company’s Model T changed the world by making personal transportation affordable, the Tin Lizzie is still regarded as a major influence in human history.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

FordModelT.net - For Model T Owners & Enthusiasts



Vintage Engines and Tractors at Toowoomba Ag Show

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 Heritage Bank Ag Show in Toowoomba, QLD, where I encountered a collection of stationary hit and miss engines, a miniature ride-on gasoline powered traction engine, and a collection of vintage tractors.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

FordModelT.net - For Model T Owners & Enthusiasts



Ford Model T – Troubleshooting – Fault finding when your Lizzie is having a bad day!

The following list basically outlines some troubles you may experience at some point, and where to look for them…

ENGINE FAILS TO START

1. Gas mixture too lean.
2. Water in gasoline.
3. Vibrators adjusted too close.
4. Water or congealed oil in commutator.
5. Magneto contact point (in trans. cover) obstructed with foreign matter.
6. Gasoline supply shut off.
7. Carburetor frozen (in zero weather).
8. Water frozen in gasoline tank sediment bulb.
9. Coil switch off.

ENGINE LACKS POWER—RUNS IRREGULARLY 

At Low Speeds

1. Poor compression—account leaky valves.
2. Gas mixture too rich or too lean.
3. Spark plugs dirty.
4. Coil vibrator improperly adjusted.
5. Air leak in intake manifold.
6. Weak exhaust, valve spring.
7. Too great clearance between valve stem and push rod.
8. Too close gap between spark plug points.

At High Speeds.

1. Commutator contact imperfect.
2. Weak valve spring.
3. Too much gap in spark plug.
4. Imperfect gas mixture.
5. Platinum points dirty or burned.

ENGINE STOPS SUDDENLY

1. Gasoline tank empty.
2. Water in gasoline.
3. Flooded carburetor.

ENGINE OVERHEATS

1. Lack of water.
2. Lack of oil.
3. Fan belt torn, loose or slipping.
4. Carbon deposit in combustion chamber.
5. Spark retarded too far.
6. Gas mixture too rich.
7. Water circulation retarded by sediment in radiator.
8. Dirty spark plugs.

ENGINE KNOCKS

1. Carbon deposit on piston heads.
2. Loose connecting rod bearing.
3. Loose crank shaft bearing.
4. Spark advanced too far.
5. Engine overheated.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

FordModelT.net - For Model T Owners & Enthusiasts


How the Ford Model T Came to be…

The Ford Motor Company manufactured its first car – the Model A – in 1903. By 1906, the Model N was in production but Ford had not yet achieved his goal of producing a simple, affordable car. He would accomplish this with the Model T. Charles Sorensen – who had joined Henry Ford two years earlier – describes how Ford had him set up a secret room where design of the new car would be carried out:

“Early one morning in the winter of 1906-7, Henry Ford dropped in at the pattern department of the Piquette Avenue plant to see me. ‘Come with me, Charlie,’ he said, ‘I want to show you something.’

I followed him to the third floor and its north end, which was not fully occupied for assembly work. He looked about and said, ‘Charlie, I’d like to have a room finished off right here in this space. Put up a wall with a door in big enough to run a car in and out. Get a good lock for the door, and when you’re ready, we’ll have Joe Galamb come up in here. We’re going to start a completely new job.’

The room he had in mind became the maternity ward for Model T.

It took only a few days to block off the little room on the third floor back of the Piquette Avenue plant and to set up a few simple power tools and Joe Galamb’s two blackboards. The blackboards were a good idea. They gave a king-sized drawing which, when all initial refinements had been made, could be photographed for two purposes: as a protection against patent suits attempting to prove prior claim to originality and as a substitute for blueprints. A little more than a year later Model T, the product of that cluttered little room, was announced to the world. But another half year passed before the first Model T was ready for what had already become a clamorous market…

The summer before, Mr. Ford told me to block off the experimental room for Joe Galamb, a momentous event occurred which would affect the entire automotive industry. The first heat of vanadium steel in the country was poured at the United Steel Company’s plant in Canton, Ohio.

Early that year we had several visits from J. Kent Smith, a noted English metallurgist from a country which had been in the forefront of steel development…

Ford, Wills, and I listened to him and examined his data. We had already read about this English vanadium steel. It had a tensile strength nearly three times that of steels we were using, but we’d never seen it. Smith demonstrated its toughness and showed that despite its strength it could be machined more easily than plain steel. Immediately Mr. Ford sensed the great possibilities of this shock-resisting steel. ‘Charlie,’ he said to me after Smith left, ‘this means entirely new design requirements, and we can get a better, lighter, and cheaper car as a result of it.’

It was the great common sense that Mr. Ford could apply to new ideas and his ability to simplify seemingly complicated problems that made him the pioneer he was. This demonstration of vanadium steel was the deciding point for him to begin the experimental work that resulted in Model T

Actually it took four years and more to develop Model T. Previous models were the guinea pigs, one might say, for experimentation and development of a car which would realize Henry Ford’s dream of a car which anyone could afford to buy, which anyone could drive anywhere, and which almost anyone could keep in repair. Many of the world’s greatest mechanical discoveries were accidents in the course of other experimentation. Not so Model T, which ushered in the motor transport age and set off a chain reaction of machine production now known as automation. All our experimentation at Ford in the early days was toward a fixed and, then wildly fantastic goal.

By March, 1908, we were ready to announce Model T, but not to produce it, On October 1 of that year the first car was introduced to the public. From Joe Galamb’s little room on the third floor had come a revolutionary vehicle. In the next eighteen years, out of Piquette Avenue, Highland Park, River Rouge, and from assembly plants all over the United States came 15,000,000 more.”

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

FordModelT.net - For Model T Owners & Enthusiasts


Great Eastland Hub Rally — Double Show n Shine!

Great Eastland Hub Rally — Double Show n Shine — Hosted by Taree Historic Motor Club

Show n Shine Events:

Day 1: Old Bar Beach Festival – Sports Grounds adjacent to Historic Airstrip, Old Bar Rd, Old Bar, NSW

– Saturday, 5th October, 2013 – 10:00am – 3:00pm

Day 2: Hub Rally Show n Shine – Taree Leagues Club – 43 Cowper St, Taree NSW

– Sunday, 6th October, 2013 – From 9:00am

 


Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

FordModelT.net - For Model T Owners & Enthusiasts


Why was the Ford Model T so historically important?

Here are some good reasons why the Ford Model T was a great car for its time:

Price: The Model T was not the first car to be the most affordable, but it was priced in the same ballpark as its closest contemporary, the horse. By continually driving down the price of his cars, using optimization techniques like the application of the assembly line in 1913, Ford made more cars than anyone else in his day. When he instituted the 5 dollar a day wage for his workers he was not only an instant folk hero but he gave every worker the financial means to buy his cars.

Reliability: Easier to get out of the barn and get going than hooking up the team to the wagon, and the planetary transmission with a flywheel magneto and Ford’s use of vanadium steel for strength made the car reliable and easy to operate. When it did need repair, the revolutionary separate head and block design pioneered by Ford and the simplicity of the overall design made maintenance simpler, faster and ultimately more affordable. A few simple tools can keep a Ford Model T running for years.

Perpetual Integration: The Ford Model T was easy to modify and whole industries of after market modifications were introduced to transform them into race cars, utility vehicles, sawmills and even snowmobiles. Modifications to Model T cars are still commonplace today, making it an icon of the last century and of the modern era.

Mitch Taylor

New South Wales, Australia

www.FordModelT.net

FordModelT.net - For Model T Owners & Enthusiasts


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