This was in our local paper today. Does anyone know if it is true? It is the first time I have heard it....
It is not true. But like many things, if you read it often enough in a newspaper then newspaper reporters think it is true.
Thanks. I was pretty sure, but wanted to check with someone else before I write my letter to the editor.
Henry Ford experimented with alcohol fuel in 1915 - 1916 and claims to have run "an ordinary Ford car" on alcohol. I am still trying to find out what adjustments they had to make to get it to run. The three or four to one compression is not enough for Ethanol, I hear.
Tom Detroit, Piquette ts / Casual Ts
Actually a model T could run on almost anything that would go through a pipe, burn, and be lit by a spark plug. I ran mine, when I was in school, on kerosene, cleaning solvent, stove oil, and of course gasoline, when I could get it. I could get cleaning solvent, used, from the local cleaners. I'd siphon stove oil out of my dad,s furnace tank. I never tried it on alcohol, never had any.
Here is the response that I got from our local paper, after they called FORD.
According to Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley, Henry Ford's first four-wheel
engine-powered vehicle, the quadracycle, ran strictly on ethanol in 1896.
When it was released in 1908, the Model T could run on either gasoline or
ethanol or a combination thereof. As the market embraced petroleum, Ford
stopped producing vehicles that could run on either fuel and focused on
gasoline engines. But the first few years of Model Ts could run on either
Yet an '09 and a '27 engines are almost the same....
What an incredible bunch of baloney.
Wait there is more!!!
I spoke to Mark Eyre about this and I spoke to the guys at the paper, and they are all interested in finding the real truth, so.....
Here is a link to the Ford website where they are claiming for all the public to hear that, "Ford's interest in using ethanol as an alternative fuel goes back to the days of Henry Ford. Ford planned to use ethanol as the primary fuel for his Model T, however, the less expensive gasoline emerged as the dominant fuel."
This all seems like marketing hogwash to be but, I appreciate any input.
1. Has anyone ever tried to run a model T on ethanol? I would think that running a model T on 105-120 octane fuel (which is what ethanol is) would not work too well, especially starting.
2. Does anyone know where all of the news story's are getting the idea that the T was designed to run on ethanol?
3. Somewhat related, has any one heard the quote, ""the fuel of the future" attributed to Henry Ford, in reference to ethanol?
I ran a Model A from Los Angeles to San Bernardino and back on Diesel Fuel when I was in High School. I had to take along about 8 extra spark plugs, because they kept fouling. It was the only time I ever had more crankcase oil after driving than before! The sheriff stopped me and asked what I was burning? I told him. He said switch to gasoline or if I ever see you making that much smoke, I will ticket you for air pollution! I switched to gas and never tried it again. but after I got it running, it would run on it. I'm sure the T would do likewise.
Well, intentional or not, Ford did make the Model T capable of running just fine on E85. I personally tested one of mine by simply switching to E85 at the pump. After about half a dozen fills, I'm sure that I was running straight E85. This was a couple of years ago and I only stopped the experiment when the gasoline price dropped to about twenty cents cheaper than the E85.
Bear in mind part of the debate here is based on the issue of what the design was. I, and most others, know that a T will run on anything flammable, but Ford is suggesting in their marketing that a T was DESIGNED to run on alcohol. Interesting to know that she will run on E85, though starting on E85 and starting on pure Alcohol are very different.
There is so many "facts" out there now about fuels that are mainly to scare people into buying the new multifuel cars.
I had heard a long time ago that Adolf Hilters war planes ran on ethenol,and according to history Henry and Adolf were friends.
I've heard mention also of the T being intially intended to run on ethanol...the reason being that Henry from his farming background wanted to produce it. It's like the soybeans being used to make Fordite.
Check this site out about Henry
How funny The Model U....
"One exception to the bigger-is-better theme at Detroit is Ford's hydrogen-powered concept car - the Model U - made from organic and fully recyclable materials such as corn and soybean. The Model U is designed as a 21st-century successor to the Model T. Perhaps the lack of a thirsty V8 means it will never be the success of the car that brought motoring to the masses almost 100 years ago"
I seem to remember an article in Old Cars & Parts magazine about twenty years ago in which a Henry Ford anecdote was related. While driving alongside a cornfield, Mr. Ford pointed it out and said words to the effect of "I never worry about gasoline shortages, all the fuel we need is out there". It might have been said right after WWI when "real gas" was in short supply and it was adulterated quite a bit-Jim Hudson Southold, NY
"1908 The Ford Model T is released. Its low-compression engine is designed to run on pure ethanol, pure gasoline or some combination of the two, with minor adjustments to spark timing and carburetion. Despite his industrialist ideas, Ford revered farmers and believed that if the auto industry expected to sell its vehicles to the farming community, the least it could do was return the favor in some way."
1926 Henry Ford tells a >New York Times< reporter that he considers ethanol to be “the fuel of the future.”
Henry Ford: 1863 - 1947
"There's enough alcohol in one year's yeild of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for one hundred years." - Henry Ford
Pioneering automotive engineer Henry Ford held many patents on automotive mechanisms, but is best remembered for helping devise the factory assembly approach to production that revolutionized the auto industry by greatly reducing the time required to assemble a car.
Born in Wayne County, Michigan, Ford showed an early interest in mechanics, constructing his first steam engine at the age of 15. In 1893 he built his first internal combustion engine, a small one-cylinder gasoline model, and in 1896 he built his first automobile.
In June 1903 Ford helped establish Ford Motor Company. He served as president of the company from 1906 to 1919 and from 1943 to 1945.
In addition to earning numerous patents on auto mechanisms, Ford served as a vice president of the Society of Automotive Engineers when it was founded in 1905 to standardize U.S. automotive parts. 1
Fuel of the Future
When Henry Ford told a New York Times reporter that ethyl alcohol was "the fuel of the future" in 1926, he was expressing an opinion that was widely shared in the automotive industry. "The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust -- almost anything," he said. "There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years."
Ford recognized the utility of the hemp plant. He constructed a car of resin stiffened hemp fiber, and even ran the car on ethanol made from hemp. Ford knew that hemp could produce vast economic resources if widely cultivated.
Ford's optimistic appraisal of cellulose and crop based ethyl alcohol fuel can be read in several ways. First, it can be seen as an oblique jab at a competitor. General Motors had come to considerable grief that summer of 1925 over another octane boosting fuel called tetra-ethyl lead, and government officials had been quietly in touch with Ford engineers about alternatives to leaded gasoline additives. Secondly, by 1925 the American farms that Ford loved were facing an economic crisis that would later intensify with the depression. Although the causes of the crisis were complex, one possible solution was seen in creating new markets for farm products. With Ford's financial and political backing, the idea of opening up industrial markets for farmers would be translated into a broad movement for scientific research in agriculture that would be labelled "Farm Chemurgy." 2
Why Henry's plans were delayed for more than a half century:
Ethanol has been known as a fuel for many decades. Indeed, when Henry Ford designed the Model T, it was his expectation that ethanol, made from renewable biological materials, would be a major automobile fuel. However, gasoline emerged as the dominant transportation fuel in the early twentieth century because of the ease of operation of gasoline engines with the materials then available for engine construction, a growing supply of cheaper petroleum from oil field discoveries, and intense lobbying by petroleum companies for the federal government to maintain steep alcohol taxes. Many bills proposing a National energy program that made use of Americas vast agricultural resources (for fuel production) were killed by smear campaigns launched by vested petroleum interests. One noteworthy claim put forth by petrol companies was that the U.S. government's plans "robbed taxpayers to make farmers rich".
Gasoline had many disadvantages as an automotive resource. The "new" fuel had a lower octane rating than ethanol, was much more toxic (particularly when blended with tetra-ethyl lead and other compounds to enhance octane), generally more dangerous, and contained threatening air pollutants. Petroleum was more likely to explode and burn accidentally, gum would form on storage surfaces and carbon deposits would form in combustion chambers of engines. Pipelines were needed for distribution from "area found" to "area needed". Petroleum was much more physically and chemically diverse than ethanol, necessitating complex refining procedures to ensure the manufacture of a consistent "gasoline" product.
However, despite these environmental flaws, fuels made from petroleum have dominated automobile transportation for the past three-quarters of a century. There are two key reasons: First, cost per kilometer of travel has been virtually the sole selection criteria. Second, the large investments made by the oil and auto industries in physical capital, human skills and technology make the entry of a new cost-competitive industry difficult.
There is so much out there. who knows what is true and what isnt?
I have run a Model T on Isopropyl Alcohol. I had run out of gas going to lunch. I walked back to the lab looking for something to put in the tank. My choices were acetone, tricholoroethane, and ispropyl alcohol. I chose the alcohol. The car ran fine, I did have to open up the carburetor about one turn.
Well, one thing we can be sure of, is that the quality of gasoline that was available in the Model T era was steadily declining. I've read reports that by the mid-twenites, the octane of most gas was around forty. This was what led to the development of lead addidtives as an octane booster. Yes, Model Ts were invented before leaded gas, therefore are designed to run on unleaded.
Poor quality gasoline had to be a major factor in Ford's detuning the Model T throughout the production run. The Model T compression ration was reduced by changing the head design at least twice. By '27 it was down to less than 4 to 1.
My chiming in about E85 was just to illustrate that the T can start and run just fine on the 100 octane corn based fuel. Heck, the conversation had already drifted to diesel fuel and Model As. Pure ethanol, without the lubricating and antioxident additives in E85 would raise a few concerns.
Wasn't the vaporizer designed to run on just about anything that would ignite. My great uncle bootlegged & my father said his $5 '27, in a pinch, would run on whatever they'd brought over from Windsor Canada, but the engine had to be warm.
I have never read anything regarding Ford and entanol but it is a possibility. What bothers me, though, is that as I understand it, it takes heat to create alcohol. What is the source of that heat? It can't be more alcohol because that would be perpetual motion in effect. Ethanol is not as "powerful" as gasoline so the MPG would be less if that were the fuel in today's engines. I wonder if there is enough farm land to grow the crops to be used in making ethanol if that were the only fuel available.
Yipes: The message by Chuck Smith is from Bruce McCalley. This happens because when I make a change on someone's profile, that information replaces mine in the cookie that remembers the automatic data on the forum, and I forget to change it.
One upshot to ethanol, however, is that once you've extracted the ethanol from corn, it's still good animal feed, which is what most corn is used for anyway.
There are several ethanol production plants up and running now that make ethanol from the corn, feed the mash to cattle( that are raised to butcher in a total confinement system), and collect the methane from the cow excrement to heat the burners for the distillers. The system runs well and produces ethanol, beef, and last year a 100% profit to the investors. I personally know the manager of the system and his company is trying to get more like it going.
While this doesn't address the question of engine R&D at Ford for multiple use of fuels, it does clear up the question of Ford's interest in ethanol.
I finally found a citation for the Ethanol research Henry Ford did. I don't think anyone has ever given a citation for this. Unfortunately there is not a lot of detail. Check out: Wheels for the World by Douglas Brinkley, Viking 2003, page 220.
It seems Ford was having trouble with the Fed, Internal Revenue about distilling alcohol in Michigan. I guess this was during prohibition so distilling alcohol for anything was illegal. Ford had made trips to Cuba to purchase sugar cane farms and mills to export product to the USA for refining into auto fuel. This section is the paraphrase of another book which I haven't seen, which can be found in: Ford R. Bryan, Friends, Families and Forays: Scenes From the Life and Times of Henry Ford, Ford Books, 2002, page 297-303.
People often remember Fords chums Firestone, Burrows & Edison. These ideas for alternative fuels probably came from interacting with them. It was just like now, fight a war and your energy supply is threatened. Then it was more rubber than gasoline. Edison was totally involved in synthetic rubber research. Did Firestone put a bee in his bonnet?
We also forget a tough guy who lived up the Hudson River with deep pockets- Rockefeller, who won the day. Somewhere Brinkley also says that operating a Model T on fossil fuel for one of the years would be about one cent a mile (one person / vehicle). Operating costs for some vehicles was over one thousand dollars per year while the Model T was about one tenth of that.
Thought you all would like to have a documented source for the Ethanol claim.
From a few posts that folks have made who have tried the E85 in their T's it's use does look possible but I wonder if additives will have to be used in really cold weather and what the long term effects on internal engine parts may be. Will an upper cylinder lubricant like MMO mix with the ethanol ok?....Michael P.