Where were Model T engines made?

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Steve Jelf
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Where were Model T engines made?

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Apr 12, 2020 3:34 pm

At Piquette and then Highland Park, of course, but what about the branch assembly plants? Did some of them (or all of them) make their own engines? The serial number records refer to blocks of numbers being sent to Manchester, Cork, and Long Island, so I gather those plants made engines. Did any of the others? I know that Ford Canada made engines and used their own numbers. How about Buenos Aires and some of the other foreign branches?
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R.V.Anderson
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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by R.V.Anderson » Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:52 pm

I believe all engines were cast at the three different Ford plants in Detroit (P, HP, R), and were then sent to the branches for assembly.


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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by R.V.Anderson » Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:52 pm

Except the Canadian engines.

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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by DanTreace » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:02 pm

According to Ford Industries (1926) pamphlet, those Detroit and Dearborn plants produced the entire engine and competed it fully, including elec.motor run-in tests and stamped the finished # and then shipped to the 32 various assembly plants across the US.

Some of the assembly plants did mfg. many things, some did bodies, paint, upholstery, cushions, and tops, but making engines by assembly of all the motor and transmission parts wasn't done.
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Photo above is captioned on page 19 as 'finished motor coming out over a trunk line conveyor is loaded into a freight car with the aid of the device illustrated and shipped to a branch for assembly into a finished car.

In the mid twenties, Ford Highland Park main plant used annually over one-half million freight cars shipping parts to the branch assembly plants. Body parts too left Highland Park, in freight cars, packed 84 sedan bodies, or 112 touring bodies, (knocked-down), in a single 36' box car. The branch plants had identical conveyor lines to assemble the chassis, place the finished engine, assemble the bodies and build the car.

The Rouge plant then became the source of molding, casting T blocks in late 1922, shipping to Highland Park, then was completing full engines in September of 1924, but Highland Park still made completed T engines until February, 1925. (B. McCalley).
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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by Jim, Sr. » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:25 pm

About 2 months ago I posted about a Ford Dealer's Inventory Book that I have that was dated December 31, 1925. The dealer was in a small town in North central Kansas, so I suppose his cars were probably supplied by the Kansas City assembly plant.
He had 5 new 1926 Coupes and Tudors that had engines that had numbers that were stamped on December 11 and 12. so, within 19 days after the engines were assembled, they were sent to Kansas, assembled into these new cars, and transported to this dealer. And this was all done without computers. :D :D :D
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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by DanTreace » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:32 am

Thanks Jim for posting that book again.

Didn’t spend time last to look closely but thanks for making that chart showing details of the ledger.

Liked the T that was the new Improved runabout, but a ‘plain Jane’, as no starter, and just clincher rimmed 30” tires.
Would have only magneto lights and kerosene tails lamp, that late...1925, some buyers wanted just cheap transportation!

And the new coupes, fitted without balloon 21” wheels, those ‘demountable’ were just regular 30”x3 1/2” clincher tires!

Have seen few old time photos of ‘26 enclosed Fords sporting those skinny tires, they don’t fill the new wide fender wells too much :lol:
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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by John kuehn » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:00 am

When they completed the engines I wonder how close the settings were for the low speed, reverse and brake bands. With all new parts the guys doing that last setup probably got to where the bands didn’t need any if more adjustment once they were assembled and put on the chassis for final assembly. Just a thought.


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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by JimDix » Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:08 am

So the number on the block will be off from days to months from the day the car was actuality assembled. Seems the standard we've been using for years is seriously flawed.
Is there any record of what numbers were allotted to which factories making engines or what numbered engines went to which assembly plants?
How far would a car be shipped from the assembly point to the selling dealer? Realizing that if a customer were looking for a less popular body style, it might have to come from where ever his desired car was.
If a car was sold in western NY, what are the chances it was assembled in the plant in Buffalo? Assuming there was a plant in Buffalo NY.
Maybe I'm overthinking this.

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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by DanTreace » Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:41 am

James

Am unaware of records of engine #'s to which branch, records maybe do or don't exist.

And a lot of the answers do depend on what timeframe you are looking at. Early on the Piquette and Highland Park factory did assembled the cars and ship, some of course at developing times were shipped knock-down, and then assembled locally.

But Ford knew the only way to meet mass demands for low price car was to mfg. near the point of distribution, so even early on assembly and limited mfg branches were strategic placed near heavy buying populations.

There was a Buffalo branch, so likely an early T was built there and delivered to that territory it served.
210087.jpg

By the time Ford was making and selling 7,000 T's a day, the whole national operations were at full swing.

This map shows the USA, if you zoom with your PC you can read the legend on the lower left to what plants, serviced, or assembled, or manufactured and assembled.
Ford territory scan big 50.jpg
By 1926 , at the huge River Rough plant (largest iron molding factory in the world) an engine block from just delivered raw ore, on a Monday morning at 8:00 AM, was cast, machined, and parts mfg. for it, and it was assembled and being loaded to ship to a branch on Tuesday, 12:50 PM. :o


Even near the end of the run.....the T being doomed by changing times, Ford was still investing in local fabrication to keep prices down, down, down.....but alas, the demand was also coming down :(

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1926
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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by George Hand » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:14 am

How late did the Dodge Bros. make the Engines and chassis parts for the Piquette Avenue plant?


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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by Chris Barker » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:40 am

Cork was intended to provide castings for all Ford Europe, especially the Trafford Park plant to avoid import duties on US-made parts.
Building began in 1918.
However, by the time it was in full production, Eire was a separate country.
Nevertheless, Cork's foundry, said in the 1920s to be the most modern in Europe, did supply UK plants.
An ex-worker said that they would melt 150 tons per day and they had 5 cupolas.
So in the 20s only the engine numbers came from Detroit.
Cork also assembled Model Ts and thousands of tractors.

Cork finally closed in 1984

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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by George Mills » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:37 pm

I have shared this anecdote before, but as usual I can't find it now!

The original Louisville branch building (Which eventually became Mengle (the maker of floorboards for T's locally and then Mengle became Mead Containers at the same location) had a two sided receiving area where the supply train only had to pull through the building to both load and unload. The one side was what you might consider typical factory with a dock area and receiving doors on the same pitch as a boxcar door would be as part of a consist...the other side had some very unique 'pits', as long and wide as the building column spacing and a profile best described as a side view section of a 26/27 car dash gas tank with the curve being outboard with overhead gantry cranes.

I toured that building somewhere in the later 70's as part of my work supplying machinery to Mead and the guy in charge there at the time told me that the 'pits' were actually originally for engine storage as the engines would come in and be spotted in the pits...and then when the train was gone could be moved across as part of continuous workflow/receiving. These pits were huge...and my guess is there were 100's of engines maybe 1000 engines as work in process. I imagine (heaven forbid) that they were also stacked loose on receipt as these pits were as deep as a swimming pool.

This same guy told me that when he got the building, there were still blueprints all over the place that were for Ford parts and Ford tooling drawings apparently just abandoned in place when Ford moved on. He was out of Cincinnati himself and a Model A guy at that. He decided while at the original office that Mead actually owned the 'paper' now and on his next trip back was going to have them all gathered up, indexed and preserved. He was disappointed that on his return as there was no longer any evidence of the drawings...and he highly doubted that they were dumpster since he and the work crew had discussed what a nice find they would be the day that they originally found them. We both kept waiting for them to surface somewhere along the line but they apparently never have.

His name was John Donahue, use to live outside Cincinnati in Milford, probably pushing 80 now, and I believe he lives down in the Sarasota Florida area now. Might be nice for someone more local to get an oral history from him as to what he found on day 1.

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Re: Where were Model T engines made?

Post by DanTreace » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:56 pm

George Mills wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:37 pm


These pits were huge...and my guess is there were 100's of engines maybe 1000 engines as work in process. I imagine (heaven forbid) that they were also stacked loose on receipt as these pits were as deep as a swimming pool.

George

Never fear! Henry and his staff wouldn't let those prize finished Model T engines go to ruin in shipping from the factory :P

They had wood crates for all the materials shipped, and spent a lot of time re-cycling the shipping crates too.

Motor safety stored in a T-2153 8-)
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The best way is always the simplest. The attics of the world are cluttered up with complicated failures. Henry Ford
Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain. Henry Ford

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