White or gray? Does anyone know when tire color changed, and was the progression from white to gray to black? Just out of curiosity, what about white tires with a carbon black tread layer (I've heard of these--is it true? Did they lead to white walls?) I'd sure like to hear someone hold forth on this subject.
Around 1917 carbon black was added to tyres to improve their durability. The 1917 "Rip Van Winkle" Ford has the white sidewalls from memory.
Grey is correct in smooth, no tread, really hard to get now, drive what you like and what you can afford.
PS - Greg l see this is posting # 8 for you - welcome to our/your forum.
Here's a brand new '14 touring outside the Highland Park plant. The tires looked like this all year, and all the way through 1916 model year.
This is a very late '14, see the 1915 style front fenders. Note the same plate, a Michigan manufacturer's plate:
Carbon black was originally added to rubber to make the best of dwindling rubber availability. German U boats were torpedoing ships coming to and from the USA, hurting the ability to import rubber.
Maybe too much information, but it appears white, black and red were available by the time of this article (1917). Possibly what we think are gray tires in black and white photographs are actually red.
Regardless of that, Ford did not install red tires at the factory, or black. Those pigmented tires cost extra. Ford used the cheapest tires available, the white ones.
This is a good question, one I've considered over the years (but never looked into).
Below are two 1912 Firestone ads. One appears to show a black tire (white raised lettering) and the next a black sidewall tire, with white tread.
Following that are several tire company descriptions taken from an issue of "The Automobile", 1916 (section of the magazine covering different tires). Although there seem to be a lot of tire colors and combinations, there is never a mention of one costing more than another (based on tire color).
"The Automobile" 1916
Ford did not offer Non Skid tires either.
Doesn't matter, Model Ts were tough. They probably needed more than one set of tires in their lifetime.
Good to see you on the Forum, neighbor. Need a ride Tues? There are several here who would be envious if they knew your day job.
You might talk Bill Harris out of his set of white tires, and then tire wear would cost you on the order of $5 a mile...
You can browse around on wiki and learn lots about latex, rubber and tires. Latex or gum rubber is grey-white. Discovering the wear superiority from adding carbon black may have been accidental, the result of mere coloring, like the red tires. The amount of carbon black can equal the weight of the gum rubber in a tire, and multiplies the wear mileage.
Royce, you'll have to fight with the author on this one.
"The Legendary Model T Ford: The Ultimate History of America's First Great Automobile" pg 80,
By Tom Collins
And from our own MTFCA electronic library:
JAN 1 Acc. 78, Box 1, #91, Acc. 235, Box 39, #91, Ford Archives
30 x 3-1/2 non-skid tires to be supplied by U.S. Tire Co. Branches instructed to use up smooth tires first.
I've seen Ford script tires from the United States Rubber company - they were the original tires on Dad's (now my) 1917 runabout when he bought it from the original owner. They were in our attic until the 1980's, then Dad gave them away or sold them to someone. They were treaded on the rear tires only.
United States rubber company is not Firestone.
I just got an email from a Benson Ford regular who says there is a video clip in the archives showing a 1916 with rear Firestone Non Skid ties so in spite of what the encyclopedia says you may be right Rob.
I still find it very unlikely any tires from Ford would be any color except white, and have never seen any documentation to indicate otherwise.
If the above photo indicates something, the tires look black?
Thanks for the information, guys. I like all the "too technical" stuff; I'll half-remember it, mixed up with something else, when I need it.
Ralph, a few of us are going early (6:30) to set up the night's program--thanks anyway.
You can't see it in any of the pictures dad took in 1952 but the sidewalls are white. The part of the tire that meets the road is black. The tires were hard as firewood, the white part exposed to daylight was yellow or brown when I was old enough to see them.
Drifting a little here, but in the first two photo's on this thread it looks like the bolts in the windshield clamps (through the dash) are not painted. Were they brass, like the screws in the hood former? I'm not hung up on making everything brass, I just don't want to perpetuate mistakes so easily corrected.
I guess that's not a little drift.
The fasteners on the 1914 windshield are brass plated steel.
I think Greg is referring to the bolts, not fasteners. When I stripped and repainted our 13, the bolts were steel and did not appear to have been brass plated. However, I have no idea if they are original to the car.
Early tire color combinations that I have seen either at swap meets, shows, or collector's garages.
I have seen black tread with white walls, gray walls and red walls. I have seen gray tread with white walls, red walls, all gray, and gray tread with green walls (yes green walls on a 28X2 early clincher). I have also seen an all red tire.
I do wish more of these things would have been saved just so they could still be seen. I do have a few very old tires (probably '30s or '40s but could be earlier), but they are all all blackish. One I have had mounted on a decent looking bad rim for about thirty years with about 5psi in it just to hold shape. I have recently cleaned and painted two other bad rims and now have very old tires on them. I don't have any tubes appropriate to air these up. I am wondering if it would work (or be a bad idea) to blow foam insulation inside the tire to apply some pressure and hold the tire's shape? Any ideas?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2