True or False?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2011: True or False?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Judy Edwards on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 01:32 pm:

I was doing some research on the Internet and came upon an interesting fact stating that some early Model Ts from Savannah GA had their seat cushions stuffed with Spanish moss.

True or false?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 02:02 pm:

I would guess that it is true that upholsters back then, all over the south and not just in Savannah, used Spanish Moss to upholster, not only automobiles but furniture, as well. I have bought antiques that were stuffed with it and it is comfortable. The stuff is abundant, soft and free and very suitable once it is treated to kill the red bugs that live in it. Anyone who grew up in the south and as a kid, played in a 4' high pile of it, knows what I mean by red bugs. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 02:02 pm:

I would guess that it is true that upholsters back then, all over the south and not just in Savannah, used Spanish Moss to upholster, not only automobiles but furniture, as well. I have bought antiques that were stuffed with it and it is comfortable. The stuff is abundant, soft and free and very suitable once it is treated to kill the red bugs that live in it. Anyone who grew up in the south and as a kid, played in a 4' high pile of it, knows what I mean by red bugs. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock Newfields NH on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 02:36 pm:

I thought it was - Don't let the bed bugs bite!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - SE Georgia on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 02:39 pm:

I wouldn't be surprised to find it in a RE-upholster job, but I would have my doubts about a factory Model T. I am not aware of any Model T's having been produced in Savannah, contrary to what one of the local tour companies is apparently saying. But I've been wrong before....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 03:00 pm:

I was thinking it might be a trick question Hal. That's why I specified "upholsterers" and not Model T manufacturers, as no Model T's would have ever been manufactured in Savannah. Jim Patrick.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - SE Georgia on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 03:05 pm:

I don't think it is a trick question. I've met Judy. She's a real person.:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Judy Edwards on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 03:09 pm:

Here is the link to one of the sites that sited this bit of trivia.

http://www.ytmag.com/nboard/messages/385357.html

Wouldn't the moss disintegrate and rot over time?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 03:20 pm:

A gunny sack full of curled hair (pig bristles) costs over $200 today so Spanish moss sounds like a good deal.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek-Brookshire, Texas on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 04:02 pm:

During its peak use for furniture stuffing Spanish Moss was not used right off of the tree. In Louisiana it was gathered in huge quantities and soaked in shallow water (Swamps) for two weeks until the outer layer rotted and sloughed off leaving the wirery inner core which was used as a liner or stuffing. The name "Spanish Moss" is a misnomer. It is actually in the Bromiliad family with it's distant cousin the Pineapple.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 04:06 pm:

The Internet is full of "facts" that are not true -

Quotre from Abraham Lincoln


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 05:23 pm:

According to the June 1937 issue of Popular Science, it appears that Spanish moss was not processed commercially for use in upholstery until the 1930s.

http://books.google.com/books?id=eiYDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA32&dq=Popular+Science+1932+pl ane&hl=en&ei=uwhRTaffEsq9tgf9vIG6CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved= 0CEkQ6AEwCTgy#v=onepage&q&f=true


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil McKay on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 07:37 pm:

There was no Ford branch factory in Savannah, GA.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom J. Miller, mostly in Dearborn on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 09:49 pm:

As I noted in a recent thread, my wife and I were in Savannah this week.

We were on the tour bus and the lady pointed out the building and said the first Model T was built there. I did a little research and now believe the building was only a dealership.

The lady also talked about the Spanish Moss. It isn't Spanish, it isn't moss. It is a plant that grows in the air without soil. She also talked about the bedbug issue when it was used to stuff mattresses. When I questioned the tour operators about the facts they were reciting, I was encouraged to consult with the local museum and historical society for documentation.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bud Holzschuh - Panama City, FL on Friday, December 02, 2011 - 10:01 pm:

Jim

Spanish moss - red bugs - been there - done that.
Hopefully never again.

schuh


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Saturday, December 03, 2011 - 01:12 am:

Frank, I think you will find that curled hair is "Horse hair" Pigs have bristles and the hair is short. It would cost a fortune to use, pigs bristle is the prefered hair for top quality paint brushes. They can cost a lot of money if they are pure bristle so much so horse hair is used to cheapen the brushes down.

Tom, if the museum there is anything like some of ours here you will find all kinds of mislabeled items. I think the same people who work there sell trembler coils on ebay as "electric starters" and other wrong descriptions"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Judy Edwards on Saturday, December 03, 2011 - 01:31 pm:

Does anyone know of an official Ford source that supports the use of Spanish moss in the upholstery of a Model T?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks_-_Surf_City on Saturday, December 03, 2011 - 11:11 pm:

There was an old story about a horse thief trying to sell a horse to a Cajun Spanish moss gatherer:

"I won't buy it," said the Cajun, because,

"A stolen roan gathers no moss."

--------------

And that's all I know about that...

rdr
Topaz Lake, NV, for tonite


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 07:14 am:

Judy,

Ford did not use Spanish Moss for upholstery padding and Ford did not build cars in Savannah. The story is without basis. Ford used horshair and cotton padding.

Certainly Spanish moss was used by locals for all sorts of things including upholstery repairs of old cars back in the day.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 12:08 pm:

To add to Royce's comments above:

If you read the 1937 Popular Science article that I posted earlier, it indicates that commercial harvesting and processing of Spanish moss didn't occur until the 1930s.

Also, of the upholstery uses listed in the article, automobile upholstery is not one of them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield, KS on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 12:17 pm:

Peter's comment about museum labels recalls one I saw in our local museum. The card listed the item as weapon from overseas. German Mauzer? Philippines knife? Roman catapult? Could have been anything.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert G. Hester Jr., Riverview, FL on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 12:37 pm:

I remember as a small kid my grandfather drying spanish moss on a fence for the war effort. He said it was used in airplane seats. If this is true then Ford may have used moss in some of the B-24's they built. Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Semprez - Templeton, CA on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 01:42 pm:

A friend restored an original preteens Auburn "compound" (2cyl.) touring car back in the mid 1960's and it had Spanish moss seat padding. This was the first time either of us had seen moss used for padding.

The car was in the collection of the Los Angeles Museum, so its originality was documented.

I recall this fact, because we joked about collecting moss from my parents ranch in Templeton, CA. to make the restoration accurate.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 02:48 pm:

John,

The LA Museum is not any sort of authority on Spanish Moss or automobiles. I suspect they did not know horsehair when they saw it. The Auburn car was made in Auburn Indiana, where horsehar was plentiful and Spanish Moss non - existent.

I suspect confusion is to blame for the story.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Judy Edwards on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 06:28 pm:

Thank you to everyone who responded. It is interesting what you find on the Internet when you look. I found the following quote on a Spanish moss web site. They were talking about the cypress wood that came from the Louisiana Swamps.

"But the original cypress heartwood was truly wonderful stuff. When Henry Ford decided to stuff the seats of his Model-T's with Spanish Moss, he was pulling the moss over the eyes of his Louisiana suppliers. What he was really after was the cypress wood used to build the crates in which the moss was shipped. This wood was perfect for the wooden door panels and dashboards in his Fords, and he got it for nothing by buying the Spanish Moss."

Thanks again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Semprez - Templeton, CA on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 07:39 pm:

Royce,

Not to poo poo your response but I saw it myself and immediately recognized it. Spanish Moss is grey green in color and hardly looks like horse hair. I too wondered why a car built in Indiana would have moss padding.

A few years later my Wife and I bought an antique love seat (circa 1895) that had its original upholstery in tact, but recovered several times. Sure enough Spanish Moss padding!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Monday, December 05, 2011 - 06:04 am:

Judy,

Another fabricated story. Ford used all sorts of scrap wood for floor boards. For some reason people think that adding Henry Ford or Model T to any story adds authenticity despite the complete absence of basis for doing so.

John,

I suspect that a love seat made in 1895 could have been made anywhere using anything. How does that have anything whatsoever to do with a Model T?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Monday, December 05, 2011 - 08:18 am:

Spanish, moss, when alive is light grey in color with a green core, but when it dies and is dried, it turns dark brown and the strands thin out, resembling hair. Any one who has never seen it, might mistake it for hair. Jim Patrick


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