I am looking for a members to posts pictures of original floor mats from the 1909 - 1916 era. I am especially interested in seeing a picture from someone who still has an original "white" floor mat of that era that still shows it's white (or "whiteish") color.
Most of what I have seen are black.
When you see a show car with a nice white mat, you might discover it is a black mat that been painted white. The factory drawings for many if not all of the mats are available at the archives.
The reason for my request is a matter of establishing facts. It is believed that white was the standard color for mats up to about 16. Trouble is, I've never seen one... have you? I've seen plenty of what appear to be "original" mats, but they are all black, or some very dark version of dirty gray. Could it be that the rubber aged and darkened over time? I'd like to know to satisfy curiosity..
You bring up a good point. The only white mat I have ever seen is a "new" one. Nice bright white.
I would think that if they did in fact come from Ford white, surely there are some still kicking around. I would also think that they would turn
yellow with age
My '14 touring has what I believe to be it's original front mat. If it is not the mat from when the car was new it is extremely old. It differs from the modern style in that it has a fabric backing. It is a faded black, not a deep fresh looking black. It certainly does not suggest that it was ever white or even an off-white.
I'll try to get some pictures of it this weekend.
"The factory drawings for many if not all of the mats are available at the archives."
The only way to know for sure how they were when new is to check the original drawings. No matter what anyone "has seen", it's not proof that they were like that when they left the assembly plant.
Here is a 1913 Canadian RHD one...
Original 1914 mat. Picture property of the Henry Ford Museum, used here under my license. Picture taken in 1914 by Ford factory photographer.
Here is a picture of the mat in my original 13. It appears to be black. If you pick it up the back side looks like it may have had a whitish look to it at one time.
Russ, you were right on this being the correct speedometer for this car. Notice where the speedometer cable goes through the original floor mat. Then notice on Royce's picture of the 14, where the cable goes through that floor mat.
From the pics of the early Fords with the 'white'
mat it looks to me like the mats were more of a greyish color and not actually white.
But that's my opinion. I don't know if Ford actually specified a mat color. But what do I know. Maybe someone else who is knowledgeable does know if Ford did.
The original rubber parts including tires and floor mats were the color of natural rubber because that is what they were made from. Natural rubber is not a pure white color, it is sort of cream colored. Maybe the color of commercially available buttermilk is the closest thing I can imagine that is a similar color.
The exception on early T's is the rubber horn bulb which as far as I can tell has always been black.
I sometimes get in trouble when I try to comment on industrial anthropology, yet when you compare the timeline of FoMoCo to that of the rubber industry...conventional wisdom does not always follow the possibilities. Just an 'observation'.
In the 'era' rubber was a natural rubber. Take the 'syrup' and mix it with bulk filler (usually silica which has a higher quartz content) process it with heat in somewhat of an autoclaving process and you have what we call 'rubber'. Since the natural 'syrup' wants yellowish to hints of gray tones, and the quartz can be anything from crystal clear to browish you get a shade based on the mix of the natural colors). I still do large scale 'natural rubber' manufacturing (and poly-urethane manufacturing) and the 'cake' has almost that same yellow cast to it that old reproduction 'whites' now show on T's. Following autoclaving, the the color changes to an 'off white' that just happens to be a shade of gray that is maybe a few degrees of lightness lighter than what Dan shows above.
The problem was that natural rubber doesn't age harden too much, but it also has much lower wear characteristics than the rubber compounds that we know of today. The industry found that adding carbon and other chemicals retained the softness necessary for rubber to work...while at the same time increasing wear properties dramatically.
This 'carbon' contribution came along much later, and as an educated guess it also evolved over time into more and more carbon addition until they noticed the strength properties beginning to 'cross over' and realized they had reached the optimum carbon level.
Now as to 'whites'. The only way to make rubber white is to use pigment and add either titanium dioxide, or pure white and bleached clay as a part of the binder. A bleaching agent works to some degree, yet it is only temporary as oxidation and what we now know as UV will want the rubber to return to it's natural color...dingy light light gray.
Unfortunately, here is where my own thought dithers. We know that today, but I can't prove yet that they knew that 'then'. My further guess was that perhaps there was a bleaching operation not in 'the mix' but rather post-autoclaving. As mentioned, a bleaching operation 'post' is only temporary, the rubber wants to return to a dingy yellow hue in the 'cream' range, or revert to the almost silver gray without continual bleaching. In fact, were you to look deeper, original whitewalls were not simply 'walls'. Tires are made of successive layers of rubber fabric ribbons wound on the mandrel before seeing the steam or the vulcanizing process. The core of the early 'whitewalls' was in fact wound with natural rubber, and only the final layers were the carbon added layers (much like that 'retread' we all recall from days gone past. Unlike a retread, because the whole sandwich was made up before being transformed by heat into a 'tire' all layers bond as tightly as if made as a solid. The net result is that we 'saw' white-walls, when in fact the opposite held true.
Mindless fodder from an old guy...today a white white can be made (they still yellow after time!), and to slow down the 'fade' problem, a technically and chemically modified rubber (synthetic) can be 'caked' before rolling into ribbons.
I have no fireplug in this, yet feel myself that a true white-white as people shoot for today was at the time a near commercial impossibility. For someone wanting to recreate and mold mats, forget natural rubber and bleach or white clay...I'd actually recommend going to a poly-urethane base as urethane allows color pigments for known output color through and through, autoclaved to a hardness that will stand the test of time...simply take a Shore-A meter that any commercial printing house usually has, take an 'old gray' and subtract about 8 points on what you measure to compensate for the unavoidable 'age hardening' the original mat has seen... that will be your best shot at a 'white-white' if you insist on a true white.
As an aside and totally off the wall...piping systems in food manufacture use rubber lined valves...and if it is a ketchup line, guess what color the rubber is...and mustard...yup, that too...and even mayonaise.
Both of my original mats have a burlap backing. I am coming to the conclusion that what we are calling "black" original is actually "aged" off-white/natural rubber that has darkened over the last 100 years.
Thanks for the inputs.