This last week, I posted a spec chart published in a 1906 magazine. The guide listed specs including types of steel (frame, crankshaft, rods), body styles, colors and a few other categories.
One Model K part listed that another poster said was a defect was a rawhide cam gear. Initially I thought that seemed strange too. However, there were three other cars listed with rawhide cam gears, along with a few that listed the cam gear as "fibre". These cars were all high end cars, with a Stoddard Dayton (that listed about the same money as the Model K), a B.L.M. ($3500) and American Mercedes ($7500). Evidently Ford decided to go with the higher grade gear to reduce engine noise.
Today, Dean Yoder sent a photo of the cam gear in our "extra" K engine. I should have noticed, the specification guide says "rawhide and br'z". Below is a photo of the gear in our extra engine. It's looks the same as the gear in our driver K, evidently both are the original rawhide and bronze gear. Apparently the gears worked well, and still work one hundred years later.
I think the technology (laminated) is pretty amazing.
The crankshaft and cam gear specs:
Whoda thunk? Leather and bronze gears.
"Move 'em out, head 'em up
I didn't know that. I see they are still made today using water buffalo hide.
Our rawhide gears are engineered from water buffalo hide specially treated for maximum strength and shock absorbance. The gears are riveted under hydraulic pressure with thick durable brass flanges on both sides. Tooth strength is extremely strong due to the unique processing of the multiple layers of rawhide which retain virtually all of its original fiber strength.
The benefits of rawhide gears are numerous. With minimal lubrication required, rawhide gears mesh smoothly with the mating gear and eliminate destructive vibrations and wear & tear inherent to metal gear trains.
Rawhide gears transmit “cushioned power” at very low noise levels to help make a quieter, more safe work environment.
Rawhide gears are designed to function as the weak link. So if an overload occurs, the gears are designed to fail before more costly damage occurs to the larger driven gears.
Applications include punch presses, forging hammers, turning drums for tanneries, cable winches in mining operations, merry-go-rounds and hundreds of other applications requiring the unique properties that only rawhide gears can deliver.
I have an early race car motor from 1905-1910 with exposed timing gears. The cam gear is a 3 piece gear with brass teeth on the outsides and leather in the center. This gear is riveted together to form a single piece gear. I'm assuming that the reason for the soft center was to retain lubrication due to the exposed gear train, and possible for noise reduction.
Yes, initially, I thought, as the poster on the other thread said:
"For those who don't know - the Model K used a rawhide timing gear originally. I wonder if that material was selected because of noise by CH Wills, or because it was cheaper to manufacture a gear from rawhide rather than to hob one from bronze for a low production car? How many Model K's were permanently out of commission when the timing gear stripped? Maybe that accounts for the low number of Model K's that exist today.
Look at Rob's material selection chart in his other post. There are no other auto engine designers who selected a Rawhide material for the timing gear. Does this mean rawhide was superior, and therefore the Model K was better than all the other cars? Or was this a serious design defect?"
I didn't realize it initially but far short of a "defect", this was another improvement Henry Ford or Wills or some other designer at Ford chose to for the Model K that the Model N did not have. And, we know of two engines in which this rawhide and bronze gear is still doing the job, over one hundred years later.
Of course the suggestion that this gear was "cheaper" is obviously off base. This bronze and rawhide laminated gear is obviously more expensive and complicated to produce than a single brass, bronze or steel as most cars of the period were equipped with.
I have a letter from Frank Kulick to Henry Ford dated about the middle of the month, March 1906. Kulick makes some recommendations to Ford about dry gears, I'll find it, and we'll see if it may have concerned the cam gear and a need to hold more lubrication, as brass car guy mentions.
This is the transcript Frank Kulick wrote to Henry Ford, dated the 15th of March, 1906. As it turns out, Mr. Kulick is demonstrating the Model K at the 1905 Boston Auto Show. He (Kulick) also mentions "Blocky" and the skimmer. He is referring to the Model N, and Louis Block, who is in charge of demonstrating the Model N. There is another letter from a potential customer complaining about the poor demonstration Mr. Block gives with the Model N. The significance of that exchange is that some have suggested Ford did not have a working Model N this early at the car shows. However, by mid March Ford is demonstrating both models K and N.
Frank Kulick says they oiled the engine gears (I suspect the front cam gear). He also suggests a brass trim ring be placed on the firewall, like "forne" cars have (Model K did end up with brass firewall trim, I suspect in deference to Mr. Kulick's suggestion). Overall Kulick seems pleased with the performance of the Model K. To put things in perspective, Frank Kulick, along with Henry Ford, have been the only drivers to compete with the Ford six cylinder engine. I believe Kulick probably had intimate knowledge of the Model K, or at last the engine prior to March 1906. Kulick will become the tester for Model K once production begins. He will be responsible for testing and tuning every Model K before it leaves Ford.
"My Friend Mr. Ford, I thought I would write you and tell you, how we got along on our trip. Our model K seams to take very good in Boston and is running better than ever. I made the hill whear they have the hill climbing contest on the high speed. The copling on the magneto came louse and we brazed it on the shaft. Blockeys skimmer (Model N) is running fine as ever making a big hit hear in Boston.
The fiber gear in magneto swelled up and we filed it down. To make our dash look better I would bolt a brass rim around the dash all forne (foreign) cars dashes are finished that way it looks better. The gears don't get much oil they looked dry we put fuel oil over the gears and let it drip in the crankcase.
I close and bid you good by.
Am I right to assume the gear that engages the rawhide/bronze gear is also rawhide/bronze?
No-- The crankshaft driving rear is solid steel construction.
The driven camshaft gear is of the rawhide /bronze design together with the then driven magneto/ water pump gear also of the raw/hide bronze design.
Thank you, I didn't know if the 1906 K had the same arrangement. Did you notice Frank Kulick's letter to Henry Ford above? Kulick had to reduce the mag gear a bit, and arrange for more lube. On another point, regarding the brass trim on the firewall. Our Model N firewall (#3) appeared to never have a brass strip (no screw holes in the wood).
I replaced the firewall and did not add brass trim. Unfortunately I didn't know at the time that most/all NRS have the trim, and I no longer have what was left of the original firewall. One should never throw away old parts (and normally I don't )
Any material used for any purpose is a compromise. No doubt Wills selected a meat byproduct to quiet a noisy cam drive, sacrificing durability to achieve the more important goal of being able to hear each other speak while driving.
Nickel Chrome Steel (rearrange the alloying elements either way if it makes you happy) is great for some things, not so great for others. I bet the Dodge Brothers used it to make things like gears and shafts in the transmission and rear differential. It would not be suitable or desirable to make fenders or hoods from Nickel chrome alloy steel.
"Any material used for any purpose is a compromise."
So Mercedes was "compromising" too, using "meat by-products" in their cam gear. And they don't include bronze in their description. Also, several other high end automakers used rawhide gears, contributing to the use of "meat by-products."
I guess this gives new meaning to "meat market."
Fortunately for me, both "meat by-product" gears in our two Model K engines have stood up to wear and tear for over one hundred and six years (and I drive our cars).
I never cease to be amazed.........
Again your ego is easily bruised and you are quick to scream and cry foul Rob. Mercedes was making cars the same year as Ford. That they were also in the minute minority of companies that selected a less durable gear to make quieter operation is interesting too.
It's fun to see what Ford did. You don't have to imagine that the choice of a less durable material for the cam gear is a defect. It is what it is. As Dean's picture shows the gear may have been adequate up until the time that particular car was parked. Some other part of the car failed first perhaps, or maybe the owner bought a car with electric start and parked the Model K. Who knows.
The K was designed in 1905. Metallurgy and harmonics design was infantile. The steels made in those days were inconsistent and their selection for use in a given product was often ill advised, sometimes spot on, sometimes adequate.
Your "research" has uncovered sales people using anything they could to try to stir the public into buying more than one Model K per day. That Ford advertised the use of a specific material is just a factoid.
A couple of corrections (to your post).
Ford did not "advertise" the fact they used a bronze and rawhide gear. It was listed in a specification guide for an upcoming auto show. That's why many cars are, and are not listed.
My ego Isn't "bruised". In fact, I really enjoyed your post. I completely disagree, and thought it somewhat laughable, but I did genuinely enjoy it (I'm smiling now thinking of it).
Again, I would suggest not posting to every thread I'm on just for the sake of saying something, but again, that's just my opinion.
Life's too short to get "wrapped around the axle" about this stuff. Enjoy your day,
Rob, I find the material choice very interesting. The use of straight cut gears would have been a recipe for noise. Especially gears as large as those. Using two dissimilar materials with different harmonic characteristics is a good choice for fighting vibration.
I believe the use of the laminated gear was to get both durability and less noise. The bronze slabs provided durability to the assembly and the rawhide absorbed vibration and acted like a wick for lubrication purposes.
The fact that they used them only in a few higher end cars would indicate that those manufacturers were willing to go the extra distance and cost to provide a better product, not compromise as Royce has stated.
Yes, put my "poor little old Ford" in this class any day:
At least they share one part........
First drive of the year, and the "animal by-products gear is hanging on........
I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday afternoon. I am!
If the "animal by-product" gear was good enough for Mercedes, why not in a Model K Ford counterpart ?....part..- no pun intended.
My God, Man!
Where's your cap and duster? No gentleman would drive his motorcar undressed like that.
So how was oil supposed to get to that area of the engine? I assume the K engine was splash lubricated? Wish I had one to look at. Did Ford make a design change to improve oiling to this part of the engine after the time of Kulick's message?
Ricks, you are correct. Rob, how vulgar of you.
It's OK guys, it's a Ford.
Last time Rob mentioned a "duster" to Holly she gave him one of these!
For Nebraska winters:
Why is Wrong seen so often spelled Wroyce?
Just kiddin', Wroyce.
Erich, Re did they make any modification to that gear .
With my car #2 there were originally only two pipes from the oiler to the engine . ONE INTO THE CRANKCASE FRONT DIPPER --THE OTHER TO FEED BETWEEN CAM GEAR & THE MAGNETO DRIVE GEAR.
Some were in it's life that cam gears oiler pipe was changed to feed the oil in directly above the camshaft gear .
OBVIOUSLY THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A NEED FOR OIL IN THAT AREA.
The drive on my 1936 South Bend lathe has been modernized to use a segmented leather V belt. At a recent trade show I found a supplier that sells a segmented V belt made from a flexible cloth reinforced plastic.
A few more "K" parts from our spare engine. The piston is next to a Model T piston:
And, last but not least, the "animal by-product" gear:
This is the alternator that was on my ''K'' .
Note it has no distributor cap or pick up carbon rod through centre.
Is it a Holley Magneto?
ALTERNATOR - ONE WIRE CAME FROM CENTER BOLT TO BATTERY.
[BOLT IS SHOWN IN LOWER PICTURE]
I just realized, your K doesn't have dual ignition? (or am I missing the other set of plugs?)
Rob, when i first ran the car with the original one set plugs operating and current being arranged from the commutator at the rear end of the camshaft i soon became sick of having
to remove the floor boards to get at it through the flywheel to just clean it of oil that came through the rear camshaft bearing.
Apart from that i felt much happier to fit a magneto[and another set of plugs] so as to a second electrical system on hand should the commutator fail.
You may note that there is no raised section yet cast on the RH front engine leg to take the relocation of the later style commutator ---but you may note that someone down the line has drilled two holes in the leg to put the commutator up in that position.
Being number 2, evidently your Model K did not have a magneto, and the timer originally was on the back of the camshaft like NRS?
Rob , You may also note that the cylinder barrels do not have the raised cast section on them to take the oil pipes . This oil feed to the barrels was possible done to assist the cooling of the pistons [thus helping in the over all cooling of the engine]?.
Yes, the oil lines into the side of the cylinders seem to be a cooling feature. Dean told me the oil line comes into the cylinder between the third and fourth piston, and the rings are pinned so they don't revolve around and gouge the port in the cylinder wall (I think that's what Dean meant).
Following is a portion of the description of the world record race the Model K won in June 1907:
How would you like the job of "mechanician" on this race, reaching forward over the firewall to feel the number six cylinder? Then, if it needed more oil, reaching even further forward to adjust the number six oiler (about a foot and a half behind the fan).
from the Ford brochure of the twenty four hour world record run:
What a great history find --''NEVER MISSED AN EXPLOSION''.
NEVER MISSED A BEAT---Sounds better to me.
As for adjusting the oil flow--Seems a Better idea than when ''LOUIS BLERIOT'' had to rely on rain potential to cool his air plane engine on the fight to Paris.
Do you have this Ford pamphlet? If not let me know and I'll email a copy.
I just noticed above, on the hour by hour scorecard. At the end of the race, the Stevens Duryea evidently suffers the "absolute disgrace" of breaking down and "towed in by a Franklin."
THANKS ROB----With no body weight and surely using the roaster diff ratio I could well believe those times . My heavy tourer car with all it's wind resistance will run to 55 MPH without much effort.
Other "high quality" cars used "composite" cam gears running against steel crank gears. My Russell cars all have bronze and some type of "fibre" sandwich cam gears used up till at least 1912. On their earlier cars (1907-08) the gears were exposed. They made a 286 cu in 4 cylinder for about 6 years.
FWIW, the reverse gears on 1901 - 1903 Oldsmobiles were rawhide.