Early Beaudette Body Numbers

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Belliott3
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Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Belliott3 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:24 am

I'm wondering if the Beaudette body works in Pontiac, MI ever kept records for the bodies sent to Ford? I have a Beaudette body, stamped B5071 and my engine is 15841. I know there is no correlation between Ford's engine numbers and Beaudette's body numbers, but can other early T owners, particularly those built close to mine, chime in with their engine number and Beaudette numbers? I'm curious if Beaudette used numerical order in building their bodies. If so, then other early T's with the same body manufacturer and built close to mine should have similar body numbers stamped into their seats. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by pre15dale » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:07 pm

My engine #is 10276 and body # is 3522

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by TonyB » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:41 pm

My engine number is 11150 and body B7264
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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by fbergski » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:49 pm

My 16 coupelet has a "B" serial number stamped in it but I don't remember what it is at the moment. Also the frame on the couplelet has a flag stamped on the rear cross member.

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Belliott3 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:09 pm

Hmmmm. So far, and we only have three early T's to go by, it appears that Beaudette didn't use sequential numbering with their seats. Dale's engine number is only 1,000 off of Tony's and yet the Beauette numbers are 4,000 different. And my T, at 15841 has a Beaudette number in between at 5071. Oh well, I suppose there isn't any way to make perfect sense from something that happened over 100 years ago but it would still be nice to see other early 1910 T owners numbers for comparison.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:07 pm

Is Dale's body a Beaudette?
This is something that has been talked about several times. Hap Tucker has began collecting numbers, but I don't know just where he is at on his list.
Such a database would be very helpful in being able to date car bodies, or their cars by narrowing down the time frame to their serial numbers. They would also help to identify some cars that had had engine changes in some long-lost past. Although a detail some owners would prefer to hide, it actually would be beneficial in knowing what is and is not correct for all cars.
However, there are some difficulties in creating such a data base. First, there is that long-lost past again. Most of our cars do not have really KNOWN histories back to when they were new. So how sure are we that the cars we use for data-points actually have their original engine. Maybe some sort of rating system for each car as to its likely originality? Using my '15 runabout as an example. It has an original '15 body. However, the car as a whole is NOT an original intact survivor. The body has what clearly appeared to be its original manufacturer's date coded serial number plate, however the body had been removed from its original chassis. (The chassis has been replaced by one assembled from mostly correct for '15 parts.) My car would not be a good example for the relationship of engine to body numbers, however, it could still add to the body serial number to dates because the plate is date coded (Feb '15). Although I have been working to make my car fairly correct for its '15 year, as a data-point car, its value would be fairly low, even though it (if I ever finish putting it together!) will likely be more correct than easily half the actual intact survivor '15 cars are today.
I suspect the earlier cars will be a bit more difficult to sort out. For one thing, the bodies use much more wood, wood that often had to be replaced. Many original bodies may not have their original serial numbers simply because the pieces the numbers were stamped into had deteriorated either requiring replacement, or simply wearing away the stamped numbers. Fortunately, it may help that many of the early bodies had the serial number stamped in several places. Even if the seat riser was worn away, maybe the underside of one of the doors managed to survive intact? Many early bodies had the numbers stamped in several locations because things like doors were custom fit onto each body, and the workers needed to track the parts to make final assembly easier and more efficient.
Another problem, is that a lot of early Ts have outright reproduction bodies. I have a '12 project pile that includes an unfinished reproduction '12 roadster body that was made back in the 1960s. Old, but not original. That one will be no help as a data-point. Will everyone be so clear about their car's value as a data-point?
And sadly, past efforts to build such a database have not been sufficiently successful because too many of the people that have the best cars for the needed points do not participate for whatever reason. I would like to see an effort to "rally 'round the flag" on this. Something we should all try to work on. Lets try to do that!

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Jem » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:32 pm

My car is#9267 and has a Beaudette ally body. Unfortunately whoever painted the body sanded down the wood so vigourously that I can't read the number, and I can't find a number under the doors or any where else.

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Belliott3 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:16 pm

Wayne, you're exactly right! As a matter of fact, the history of my 1910 says that the current engine and body didn't start out together; a fire destroyed one car except for the engine and an original early body was found on a dump pile in the same small upstate New York town. The owner at the time decided to build a complete car with the two major components and added original early parts (as well as later T parts). I'm trying to determine, if possible, the approximate time frame my Beaudette body would have been built based on other cars from the same time (Dec., 1909 to March, 1910). My T may not have started out as one complete car, but it's very possible the two were very close in build date. That's why I'm really hoping someone with an engine number close to mine (15841) and a Beaudette body will chime in.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:20 pm

Bill, This is part of why I think trying to get this information and sorting it out would be somewhat beneficial. My '15 runabout isn't so important, most of the changes are well enough known now that I can pretty much sort one out just from what I have learned myself. And so can about another hundred other hobbyists. However, the earlier brass model Ts changed so much every year, and many of those changes aren't really known. It may not lead to world peace, but it would be good to be able to do better putting engines, bodies, and other parts into a reasonably proper order in our restorations, and our preservations.

I did post on one of the threads about the new forum and galleries asking about a special place for maybe doing this data search.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by rickd » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:44 pm

Count me in for learning more information about the Beaudette bodies and putting together information about them. My car is certainly not in the same league as you guys with the very early cars; but I have a 14 Touring with an April 21, 1914 engine 500xxx and attached to the wooden framework under the front driver seat side is a metal body tag with 4.14.90072. On the top front center of both of the front and rear kick panels is a "B" incorporated into the raised beads of the kick panels. My read on the body tag is that the body was assembled sometime in April of 1914 and the car was subsequently assembled on April 21, 1914. Look forward to learning more.

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by KWTownsend » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:01 am

Bill-

Beaudette did number bodies sequentially, and Ford numbered engines sequentially. Up until October, 1911 the Body ID tag, or Patent Plate tag matched the engine serial number.

However, according to Trent Boggess, Ford's body inventory room at the Piquette Plant had one door, so Ford used a first-in, last-out inventory method.

I have compiled a database of all 1911 body numbers (focusing on Breaudette as mine is) and have found ZERO correlation of body numbers to serial numbers.

For instance, car s/n 83,5xx has body B 21772, however, car s/n 85,5xx has body B 18928. We don't know Beaudette's production, but we do know Ford's production was about 100 cars per day, so the two cars 1,989 cars apart came off the assembly line almost 3 weeks apart, yet the body numbers are 2,844 bodies apart, in the opposite direction. Both cars are said to have original bodies.

The serial number on Pete Ratledge's car is 1,095 earlier than my car, yet, the Beaudette body of his car is 2,306 later than mine.

Beaudette numbered ALL of their bodies sequentially, regardless of whether is was a touring or roadster. This further puts the numbers all over the board.

Years ago, Kim Dobbins visited with a descendent of O.J. Beaudette. No records survive.

A body number close to your body number, would indeed, have a similar body design. However, it might have differences in automobile design. For than matter, the next car down the line would have differences. Ford used multiple suppliers of headlamps, coils, windshields, wheels, radiators, carburetors, etc, so there were always lots of subtle differences even from one car to the next on the production line.

: ^ )

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Bob McDaniel » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:53 am

So what I am getting from all of this is the 1909, 10, and 11 cars would have a brass tag stamped with the engine number on the body along with a body number stamped into the wood seat frame from the builder of that body but that number will not be the same as the engine or tag number used by Ford to keep track of the car. So even if the car had the engine changed at some point the brass body tag from Ford would still have the correct number of the original engine which would make it easy to date the body as long as the brass tag has not been changed or lost. Does this sound right or am I wrong in my thinking here?
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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Jem » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:17 am

That sounds right to me.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:35 am

I am fairly certain that there will never be a simple linear pattern to the body and engine comparative numbers. However, a general consensus of the likely timeline for bodies could be very helpful in getting restorations more correct.
There are many things that affect the timeline for bodies to be installed onto a chassis at the factory. The "first in last out" warehousing certainly had a big effect on some bodies hiding in the back, sometimes for months. Another thing that often caused bodies to predate chassis is the conditions of the purchase orders. Most of the body manufacturing companies were struggling to keep up with Ford's rate of expansion. Sometimes they fell behind in their orders, and sometimes finishing would get delayed. Ford also sometimes ordered bodies "in the white". These were bodies structurally completed, however, either or both the painting or the upholstery was not done. Those bodies must have had their serial numbers and date coding (if applicable) because that was how the suppler company conducted their billing to Ford. However, then the body had to be sent to another company to be finished, and that had to take a couple weeks at least.

I have often wondered, and a few times on the forum asked, just how accurate IS that date coded serial number (for bodies in the later brass era beginning in 1913 when Beaudette and others began adding the date coding and maybe metal plate on the front floor structure). The date coding is simply month and year. Was it a completion date? (Could be, but I am doubtful.) An order date? (I think more likely.) However again, it could have been early or late in the month. Sheet metal had to be stamped, trimmed, wood framework built, sheet metal fitted, hinges, doors, various irons etc. Then the body had to be painted and upholstered. At different times and places this may have been done in either order. Upholstery pieces would be made during the time other structures were being built. And once installed, the upholstery was ready to go. The paint however, was not so simple. The unfinished body had to be prepared. Then painted in several coatings, each with a drying time of one to three days. I would think a body could not be completed from start to finished and delivered in much less than three weeks. Then it may sit in the warehouse for a day, or sometimes a month or more. I always figure my February '15 date coded runabout body was likely assemble into a car in either March or April, and it could have been even later. I often refer to it as my "spring '15".

A couple years ago, on the old forum, we had a discussion about the body serial numbers during the later brass era. One very original 1916 touring car with a fairly known history and no reason to believe it had ever had any significant changes made to it, had an apparent Beaudette body date coded June '16 on a chassis with a serial number indicating January '16 (if I recall the months correctly). A couple other examples of chassis predating bodies by a couple months were also given.

I think I wandered off the earlier brass era a bit. But some of the points may be relevant.
Occasionally, slippage could work the other direction. Sometimes, cars, chassis, or engines, could fail a quality control test. They were too valuable to be simply scrapped. According to a few old tales I have read from those that worked there, minor defectives were set aside. On slow moments, they would be checked out, and later run through the assembly area correcting the defect. I can't say just how true those stories were, but it does make some sense. Keeping everything running perfectly ALL THE TIME was never possible, and Ford did need to keep his employees busy in those odd minutes.

Some things we will never be able to know for certain. Some other things? I think we may yet sort out and be able to know.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Art Ebeling » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:30 am

For restoration purpose what would you do about the body number if you had a new (Ray Wells) built body? Would you stamp body numbers on it it the correct locations or is that considered improper of fraudulent?

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Belliott3 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:02 am

Art, unless you had an original body that wasn't salvageable but could reuse the stamped body number I wouldn't stamp one. You would have no way of knowing if someone actually owned the car with the original number on it, and future generations would assume it was an original body to the car. Does Ray stamp his own numbers on his car bodies I wonder?


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Art Ebeling » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:09 am

Bill, Ray Wells told me he does not normally stamp numbers on his new bodies. What number would go on the tag on the inside of the firewall? Art

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Belliott3 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:43 am

On the early T's, the number stamped on the brass data plate supplied by Ford matched the serial number on the engine. I'm not exactly sure when this practice stopped, but your 1911 would still have matching data plate/engine numbers. I think the 1911 data plate also was mounted on the riser on the front seat and not the dash, but I could be wrong. As for the Ray Wells body, I would not bother stamping any numbers on it.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by pre15dale » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:41 am

Yes my body is a beaudette I just didn't get the B included in the number so here it is again engine# 10276 body # B 3522
And it's an aluminum body


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:28 pm

Hobby-wise, reproduction and outright replacement bodies are a fact of life. My opinion? I think too many people in the hobby have decided against restoring decent original bodies, way too many times opting instead to take the easy shortcut of a modern replacement. Not just early model T Fords, but CDOs, Reos, 1903 model As, Stanley Steamers, and a hundred other marques. Another alternate reality however, is that I could not afford some of the original parts that I like to use if others weren't casting them off as "too much work to use" (I do prefer the original fenders going on my '15 runabout).
I will admit, that I have been tempted in the past to put the detail of "serial numbers" onto reproductions of bodies or parts that I have built myself. I have generally talked myself out of doing that precisely because I decided it really wasn't proper, and I like to make things look basically right? But I also like to leave details to prove that the body or other item is in fact a reproduction. I do not want to defraud someone by trying to hide that fact. But that again is my opinion.
My feeling is that if a body is restored, or even resurrected from partial remains of a specific body, it is appropriate to put the original serial numbers onto it if they are available. My feeling also is that such a placement should be done in a way that it can be seen as being redone. Frankly, I would like to see the hobby offer data plates that could be tacked maybe under seat cushions that would state that the body is a reproduction. However, I doubt that most people would go along with that. The fact is, a lot of people are happy driving their cherished antique not knowing (or caring) that the body is a repro.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:32 pm

Now. A heads up. I have passed a few notes with Admin Jeff about setting up a data collection point to collect information to help sort out a couple historic timeline issues. I hope to start a new thread with a few details and my initial thoughts, hopefully today. My feeling is that the main objective is to compare body serial numbers to engine serial numbers for likely timelines.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by Trentb » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:43 pm

John Reagan is the most knowledgeable person I know of on the Beaudette Body Co. of Pontiac, MI. John has never indicated to me if any of the business records, including sales to FMC, have survived.

My knowledge of body numbers comes from some work I did reviewing several thousand of the photographed images of the Ford Shipping Invoices. My 1911 Torpedo did not have it’s original engine in it when I acquired it. I did find the body number of the car on the seat riser. I spent many, many, many hours reviewing the shipping invoices from August 1911 and earlier, checking each Torpedo shipping invoice for the body number. I eventually did find the invoice that showed my body number and builder, and from that I recovered the original engine number and what equipment the car was shipped with.

What I learned about body numbers during my search of the shipping invoices is that there was no particular order to the body numbers as compared to the motor numbers. I think there were several reasons for this. First, Bodies did arrive in batches from the manufacturer. There was a period of time when the body waited at the Ford factory until it was needed. Upon arrival bodies were stored, but in no particular order. When a body was called for, the closest one available was taken and used. A second reason the body numbers have no particular order is because there were several different manufacturers supplying bodies to Ford. There were Beaudette bodies, but there were also ones made by Wilson (and one other builder which I can’t remember with out digging through my notes somewhere).

Much of the equipment used by Ford on its cars arrived in batches. In addition to bodies, lights, horns and coils seem to have arrived as batches. For example, the shipping invoices reveal that there will be a large string of cars using Brown or E&J lights. Other times the coils will be supplied by Heinz or Jacobson and Brandon. Tires and windshields were recorded as being shipped on cars the same way.

The primary use of the shipping invoices is to determine when a car was shipped, where it was shipped to, and the equipment it was shipped with. The later allows a dedicated restorer to restore their car to match the equipment it originally shipped with.

Respectfully submitted,

Trent Boggess


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:35 pm

Trent, It sounds as though much of what we would like to learn about the early brass cars could be found just in the archive records. Something I don't think I can do because of the distance involved among other personal reasons. We would still also like to sort out body serial numbers relative to engine serial numbers for the later brass cars as well.

I always enjoy and appreciate your inputs and comments here. I hope to see you back here more as the new format settles into place.

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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by fbergski » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:45 pm

fbergski wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:49 pm
My 16 coupelet has a "B" serial number stamped in it but I don't remember what it is at the moment. Also the frame on the couplelet has a flag stamped on the rear cross member.
I stand corrected my coupelet does have a serial number under the seat but it's not a Beaudette number.


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Re: Early Beaudette Body Numbers

Post by wayne sheldon » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:57 am

Phillip B, I understand that a lot of the early center-door sedans and couplet bodies were built by Fischer Body Co (much later a subsidiary of General Motors). Don't know if that helps you or not.

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