I was looking at photos of one of the first Model N runabouts. This is possibly the one from the display at the New York Auto Show, January 1906. There were at least two Ns at the show, one outside demonstrating and one inside, on a raised pedestal.
Below are a few pics. The first one is the N on the pedestal. You can see the radiator hose is not connected to the radiator. I assume the car was not running yet. The Ns were at least a day late to the show according to news accounts.
The N outside, demonstrating:
This is a photo of the engine of one of the early Ns. You can see the wiring at the front of the camshaft (left front of engine). I've heard the very first N (s) had the timer on the front of the camshaft (where it should have remained):
Now, for a "mystery":
This is a closeup of our engine, N number 3. The first engines did not have a raised boss for the engine number (ala Model T) that later was cast on the left front of the crankcase. Instead, we know our #3 and a few other early Ns had the number stamped to the rear, behind the "402" casting number:
Now, trying to blow up, and sharpen one of the one hundred and eight year old magazine photographs, is there a number stamped in the same place on the original N photograph?
The photos overlaid:
Are you thinking that's a # 3 on the NY car?
I've had stranger things happen to me. History sometimes comes around to us.
No, just wondering if there is a single digit stamped in the same place.
According to Trent Boggess research, N number 4 was sold to Northway Ford in Rochester N.Y. On 7/16/1906. The 1925 photo of our car was taken at a new Ford dealership in Rochester N.Y.. I have surmised our car may have been shipped to Rochester (the records are incomplete) along with Number 4, although that takes a leap of faith too.
One never knows.....
The 1925 article with our N.
I was missing this newspaper scan for several years (buried deep in old email). Hap helped me locate the article when we bought our N in early 2007. The article and photo ran Oct 18, 1925 in the "Rochester Herald".. The N still has the original Firestone style wheels and tires (the article mentions "straight side tires").
Fortunately, the newspaper photographer was well known, and the photograph remains a part of his collection:
This is a picture of the Model N engine at the Piquette Plant that we believe is the one in the Model N prototype at the 1906 New York Auto Show.
There is no indication of a serial number nor is there a part number cast into the crankcase. That must have been "saved" for the production engines.
In line with the missing radiator hose, this engine also does not have pistons or a crankshaft. They apparently weren't ready in time for the show. Auto engineers who visit the Piquette Plant indicate display vehicles still are sometimes put on display that can not run.
Rob, The radiator in the first photo is an early design and not the production design, and the water pump does not have the water tube to the cylinders as per the production model. Joe Galamb and Charles Balough’s first job at Ford was redesigning the radiator and water pump as per Joe’s oral reminisces in 1955. Joe started at Ford on December 11th 1905. Charles in January 1906.
I don't see any sign of a number on the prototype crankcase.
Thanks for the good info. The photo of the engine I posted is taken from a detailed "Motor Way" magazine article, August 1906. I suspect the photos used are of the same Model N "The Automobile" used during their review of the Model N. It appears Ford had one primary running, demonstrating Model N (maybe the one seen outside the New York show in January 1906). This N reportedly had over 20,000 miles on it by the time the "Automobile" article was written in the summer of 1906.
The pic I used:
Notice the commutator wires forward of the camshaft.
First page of the article:
No, Royce, you won't see any sign of the number on the prototype crankcase. That crankcase was never used in a running car (as Bruce points out), and is not the crankcase I posted.
There is no number on this prototype Model N crankcase Rob. No number on the one shown at the auto show, and none on the one in Piquette.
The picture above shows some imperfections, stamps, or other markings in the same place where the early N crankcases were stamped. If you read this thread in it's entirety, I did not suggest the "prototype" N has a number or mark on it (and do not have a good enough photo of it to speculate).
Unlike you, I don't know if there is a number, letter, or anything else there. That was the purpose for this thread. Now we know you are convinced there is nothing there, so I suspect you'll be on to other threads.
Thank you for sharing,
Glad I was able to clear up your confusion regarding my response.
I don't see any evidence of the casting number in those photos. I agree there looks to be "something" where your #3 is stamped, but there are other dark spots in the photo to the right and left of it as well. Probably just irregularities in the casting would be my best guess...
I'm afraid this exercise is like Percival Lowell trying to see Martian canals - without sharper pictures, there's no way to tell whether there is really anything there or not.
BLUF (Bottom line up front): I always enjoy your research and postings – thank you for sharing them. I believe it would be nearly impossible that your N# 3 was shipped along with N#4 to Thos. J. Northway dealership in Rochester NY unless there is an error in the Accounts Receivable Ledgers or in Trent’s “Early Ford Database” concerning car #3. Please see the discussion below for the rationale behind that theory and a suggestion for how you can help verify that conclusion or prove that it is inaccurate.
Great photos of the early Model N Fords.
Trent’s “Early Ford Database” published Sep 10, 1997 is a digitized version (also available hard copy) of the Ford Cars sold to dealers 1903 to around Mar 1909 based on the remaining known accounts receivable ledgers. I.e. the records the accounts used to keep track of which car was sold to which dealer etc. The first accounts receivable ledgers series cover Jun 1903 to Mar 1904 and are located at the Benson Ford Archives, Accession 85, Box 8. The next series cover Mar 1904 through approximately Jan 1915 and are located in Accession 623. [I would guess Boxes 1-8 but I do not have that location documented as well]. Trent stopped digitizing the information for the cars around Mar 1909. He stopped there because the more complete listing of cars is available in the Shipping Invoices for the cars #1119 (assembled Mar 3, 1909) through approximately car #70,700 or so in very early Oct 1911.
The cars are listed in the account receivable ledgers by the dealers, date shipped, serial number etc. And in some cases an individual that ordered a single car and had it delivered to himself is also listed – but not very often. That means if a dealer is listed all of the cars shipped to him would be recorded. I don’t know what the wholesale price of the Model N was, but I know the accountants would be in big trouble if they let one go to a dealer for free or if they collected the money and did not report the sale.
While approximately 3/4 of the accounts receivable ledgers are missing, the others have survived. In the surviving ledgers is the listing of cars sold to the dealer Thos. J. Northway, Rochester NY. So he is one of the dealers listed in the approximately 1/4 of the ledgers that they have. The first shipment I saw in Trent’s database to that dealer was on Dec 6, 1904, Model B #31. Prior to that time it appears two other dealers sold a few Fords in Rochester. And during the same time period that Thos. J. Northway was selling Fords in Rochester there were at least 3 two-cylinder Fords sold to/by C.E. Meade (Model C and F). But Thos. J. Northway had numerous cars sold/shipped to him from the Model C through the Model S Roadster in Jul 1908. There is a slim chance that Trent missed Model N serial #3. He is human like the rest of us and he could have missed it. But he also would have been looking for the earliest serial number. Additionally he has a Model N and loves researching that model. So it is less likely that he missed a low serial number Model N Ford in the database than a number or other model somewhere in the middle range. While it is a remote chance that he missed the number, it is also one you can still verify. Next time you visit the Benson Ford Archives call / e-mail ahead and request that they pull the Accounts Receivable Ledger from Accession 623 that contains the dealer Thos. J Northway so you can review it when you are there. If you do double check that one, please let us know if you confirm #4 is the lowest serial number listed or if #3 is also there somewhere. Either way I would like to add that to my notes.
Side note – small world. Ford Model K #2 was also shipped to Thos. J. Northway, Rochester NY on Apr 16, 1906 (ref page 26 of Trent’s Early Ford Database). And we know that engine survived and is in Bob Trevan’s Model K in Australia. For a short history on K #2 how it was found and restoration up to 2003 see: http://www.vccansw.org/featured/vcca_featured01.htm And if you have never seen a car running with square lifters -- catch the u-tube video at the bottom of that history posting or go direct by clicking on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OflJogmOv9s I wonder how you ream a square vavle guide?
REFERENCES are readily available that contain “Trent’s Early Ford Database.” It is included on the CD that comes with lots of other early Ford information in “Pate’s Early Ford Automobile Encyclopedia” available from Carl Pate at: http://www.earlyfordcars.info/ as well as from the vendors. It is also included in Bruce McCalley’s “Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia” that contains the many items including “Ford – the First Six Years” and is available for order – see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/333725.html?1357665853
Again thank you for all your research. You are adding a lot of missing puzzle pieces. Many are helpful right away and I’m sure more and more of them will find their place in the picture of what Ford did back in the day. And thank you to everyone that is helping us gather additional information -- you never know which lead will unlock a mystery.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Tom mentions that the prototype engine on display at Piquette may be the very same engine shown in the prototype car at the 1906 auto show. While we may never be totally sure of that, it is interesting to note that the center camshaft bearing retaining bolt is shown missing in the 1906 image. (Just behind the vertical part of the intake manifold.) The engine at Piquette also has that bolt missing. Yes, it could just be a missing bolt with no further significance however, the bolt hole in the Piquette engine has never been threaded. There was never a bolt in there, not today and not in 1906 either.
Just for clarification, of the images Rob shows above; the 1906 display car, the 1906 demonstrator car and "Motor Way" magazine image, all used the same very early, pre-production design, engine crankcase as the prototype engine at Piquette. Rob's car #3 uses the design that was used for all production vehicles, with monir changes through the years, such as the engine number stamping boss.
"monir", new word. It is synonymous with "minor"
I s didn't know how the "missing" ledger fit. If I read correctly, the information for a dealer, such as Northway, should be complete? Of so, then our car went somewhere else (in all likelihood)? If so, that's good to know,,because ruling something out is almost as good as determining it occurred.
Thanks for the on formation.
Jerry, do you think the closeup engine (black and white) is a "prototype", or production crankcase?
As someone who has spent days poring over the Accounts Receivables ledgers at the Benson Ford Archive, I can say that Hap's impression of the situation is remarkably accurate, considering Hap has not seen them himself.
If the pages for any dealer exist, they are very likely 100% complete. Considering there were only a few serial numbers lower than #4, there would be no reason for #3 to be on any other page of the Accounts Receivables ledgers. The ledgers are in bound volumes, so it is very unlikely any pages would be missing from a particular dealer.
"Jerry, do you think the closeup engine (black and white) is a "prototype", or production crankcase?"
It's a prototype/pre-production style.
ROB , Is that a round foot step on the ''N'' picture in the MOTOR WAY ADD . As prior mentioned that the early ''N'' in Western Australia had round step plates like an 1903-4 A &Ac.
It might be, hard to say for sure. The chassis diagram in the article is certainly the early drawing with pinion bearing rear end and round step plates:
Another feature of 1906 Model N were Gray and Davis sidelamps. The two Ns at the Armory, New York Auto Show, January 1906:
Our N, with the same sidelamps (and aftermarket bullet headlamps) seen in the 1925 photo:
Rob, I note from the above pictures that the carburettor on your car is of the same style as my car [#132].Do you know if there were two styles of carbs on the 1906 ''N'' .
The reason i ask is because there i a party thats wants to sell me a ''N'' carb that say's its 1906 ''N'' but it's a different looking carb to my carb and yours?
I noticed a top view of one of the early Ns that had strange carb with a large round top. I'll try to find the pic,
These are the carb pics I have on early Ns. Our carb (I run a NH) is an early Holley, and I believe Ns had Kingston and Holley. It wouldn't surprise me if other types were used too. Maybe Hap, Jerry, Paul and other NRS guys can add to this.
This was shown in the August Motor Way new car review, August 1906. It shows the early (prototype?) chassis with what looks like a canister or barrel carb (from the top view). This is an early drawing, with the round Model C type step plate.
From the same article. I'm not sure if it depicts the same carb:
And a few more:
Notice the overhead view shows a motor without a top radiator hose. I believe it also shows a Holley carb of the design used on the model C and F.......those (C,F) were pipe thread type,made by Holley before they moved from pennsylvania and notoriously NDG...but quickly improved on. The overhead view also shows what looks to me like a Connecticut brand coil box.
The other views show different carbs. I've never seen the updraft before.
The other views show the 06 style of Holley carb, with some variation. Similar to BobTrevan's picture. Also, I had forgotten the very early splitdorf coil boxes had a square switch, so think now that is a splitdorf box.....the mounting brackets look like splitdorf .....an aside........... I read somewhere that splitdorf was a hard living man. Clara Ford did not approve of his lifestyle, and this lost his company future millions in business .
Thanks Tim--Some very interesting observations.Note the round step plate -same as the N in Western Australia had.
Yes, the step plate looks like an A or AC style. Makes sense as they likely had them on the shelf. It is kinda mind boggling how quickly these prototypes we're put together. There is a lot of work to forge all these separate parts, or make foundry patterns.
Rob, very interesting. The overhead view and head-on engine view, from the same Motor Way article, (as you state), actually show a different engine.
The overhead view shows a pre-production engine, made clear by the trans frame & motor mounts. There would also have been no crankcase breather tube and no troughs in the crankcase bottom, (not visible in this view). (Also, no oiler!)
The head-on view of the engine shows a breather tube and troughs, signifying a production style engine.
I assume Ford gave some of the drawings to the reporter/magazine, and they were old drawings. The Motor Way article ran in August 1906.
A similar thing happened with the Cycle and Automobile (I believe that's the one). A reporter rode with Henry Ford for a test drive on June 2nd, and the photos looked like they were from one of the late winter car shows. That story ran in August too. I suspect the magazine waited to run the story until the Model N was available to the public.
I need to correct a statement I made above. With regard to the center camshaft bearing retaining bolt hole on the prototype engine at Piquette, I made the following statement, "...the bolt hole in the Piquette engine has never been threaded."
I visited the engine while at Piquette last weekend. It had to look carefully but it turns out that the hole is indeed threaded. My mistake.