I have read several threads in the past about T owners doing research at the BFRC and finding their vehicle. I believe the info was in the "Accts. Receivables" ledgers. I plan on being in the Dearborn area this fall and emailed the Center to ask about an appt to review what they have. I was informed that the 1970 fire destroyed the 1913 records. Does anyone have more detailed advice on what documents I need to specifically ask to review. Is the material on microfilm, on "hard copy" form. I know the information that others have used is incomplete and info on my car may not be there-but I want to give it a try.
Charles: My wife & I were at the Henry Ford just a few months ago and I inquired about researching my 1913 T as well. I got the same story. They lost records due to fire from around 1911 through 1930's? (not sure of exact dates)
If my memory is correct, some info on 1913's has been found at the Research Center. I am hoping that someone who has been there and was successful can steer me in the right direction.
Keep in mind a vast amount of stuff in the archives has not been sorted/cataloged. If I lived closer I can see spending alot of volunteer time there!
Same goes for the photos. The photos are filed under date, not by subject. You may have to wade thru 100 pics of the foliage at Greenfield Village to find a picture of a Model A on the assembly line. (just using that as an example)
I looked through some of the Accounts books at the Archives in an attempt to locate my '14s pedigree. The staff pulled all the ones they could find from around the time my car should have been sold but the closest I found was one number off: looking for XXX900 but found XXX899. That car was sold in New Orleans, but I believe mine spent its life entirely in south central MI. It was apparent that the only way to find something was to dig and dig and hopefully stumble across it. If you know the dealer's name who sold it originally it would help a great deal as that is how the books are mostly organized.
Mine has a B engine. I bought it in NE New York. My impression is the car went through restoration in the late 90's. When I got it it had a 1912 radiator (that didn't work well-overheated!), It had 26-27 spindles (which I am going to replace). It has the later rear frame configuration, but has the reinforcing plates in the rear. so basically, what I would like to find is the ship date for the engine and where it went.
The accounts receivable ledgers go through January 1915. Maybe 10 - 15% of production is in the remaining ledgers. I was lucky and found the shipping document for my 1913 touring which was sold in June 1913.
Are the ledgers on microfilm or do you have to ask to see the actual ledgers? is there an ascension number?
The Accounts Receivables ledgers are in large bound volumes. You must wear cloth gloves to handle them. A docent must be present at all times while you examine them in the reading room of the Benson Ford research center. I don't know the ascension number but the ladies at the Benson Ford will know exactly what you want if you ask for the accounts receivables ledgers.
The ledgers are organized by dealer name. If the dealer began buying Fords in 1903 then the ledger will begin in 1903 for that dealer. Early on the ledger entries are quite detailed, showing the full name and address of a retail purchase in some cases. Toward 1908 the volume of sales goes way up and the entries get more rushed and cryptic.
As you turn the pages fresh cedar wood shavings (and the smell of cedar) and pencil lead dust fall on the table, as if the shipping clerk had just finished sharpening his pencil right over the pages of the book.
Here's a snippet of a page from late 1913 - summer of 1914: