I know that the Model T was designed to exist only with a magneto, but how, in 1911, did you charge a battery IF you even had one and IF you didn't have electricity in your home which most did not??
Both my 1911 and my 1918 must have the batteries charged periodically. How did THAT work in the early days??
Generally in 1911 dry cell batteries were used. I believe they were the same type that were used in telephones at the time. When the battery died, you bought another.
: ^ )
Think "Wind charger" They were one of the most popular ones around here.
If you had a lead acid battery for powering the coils, you took it to a garage for charging when required. If the garage had no mains electricity supply, it would have a stationary engine coupled to a generator for the purpose.
Likewise, homeowners with a wind charger or stationary engine lighting plant could charge at home.
Generally though, the starting battery was four to six No.6 dry cells in series providing 6-9V, or a "Hotshot" (like a modern lantern battery). These were carbon zinc and not rechargeable.
Ford prohibited dealers from offering batteries as accessories on Model T cars and trucks. This is a factory letter from 1912:
OCT 5 Acc. 509, Letter, Ford Archives
"The only equipment permitted to be attached to any Ford cars is a robe rail, a clock, and a tool box on the running board. No exhaust cut-outs, trunk racks, bumpers, batteries or other items mentioned in previous letters should be recommended or permitted to be put on Ford cars either by our branches or by our dealers; and, as previously noted, our guarantee will become void if devices of this sort are attached."
Wow, neat info Royce.
Makes you wonder why Henry never got ride of the duall position switch.Bud.
I have an original set up from 1917 in the small "engine house" behind my farm house. A hit and miss engine outside belted to a pulley wheel connected to a line shaft belted inside to a small farm-sized generator that could charge batteries. My house's original Edison batteries are still sitting in the cellar.
Detailed photos would be nice.
Ron the Coilman
Yes Ryan, I second Rons motion on some photos ! I have some porcelain parts for Edison battery's and would like to see yours.
I have a complete but apart Delco light plant that 1 day I hope to fix. 1 of those round to it's.
Sorry for the delay in getting some pictures. My father was big into projects, and one project we decided to do was "save" the engine house in back of my house. It was built new with the farm in 1915-17, and one of the modern amenities was electric lights in the house. Here is the engine house before restoration. It was built on poles without a true foundation, so was rotting into the ground, with moisture wicking up into the side boards.
Here is the building restored back to its original colors, with a new treated wood foundation. We jacked the building up, cut off all the rotten wood, and layed it down on a new treated 4x6 foundation. Everything in the base is now treated wood.
From the back you can see the exterior belt pulley. The farm did not have an engine inside the engine house, but rather a mobile one, which could also run corn shellers, silage choppers, buzz saw's, fanning mills, etc.
Inside is a short line shaft that could be hooked up to a water pump (the well was in this building) to fill a nearby water tank (for the horses) or could be belted to one of the generators on the far wall.
A Fairbanks Morse generator. I was told not many of these survived the scrap drives of WWII.
The generator ran by knob-and-tube wiring overhead, out of the building and to the house, where it ran to a battery set up in the basement.
Some of the gauges were stolen, although I have the original light bulb that used to screw in to the top of this.
Here are the batteries:
Later, a wincharger was added to the farm, so you could charge the batteries with wind power or with a gas engine and generator. Pretty cool that it is all still around. My grandparents didn't clean much out in their day.
My neighbor said his uncle used to charge batteries for a price using a stationary hit and miss motor. He had the only charging set up for miles in South Dakota in the early 20s. I have a couple of Tunger chargers that will charge up to six 6v batteries at once. They both work. One is a 20s vintage GE which I use on my T batteries. PK
Royce: A guarantee? Really? Can you elaborate a bit on that please? just curious.
Here's one example of Ford's guarantee - from an early '26 produced in '25, I think.
(originally posted by Dan Treace here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/100919.html )
Great restoration project. Thank you for the pics and explanation of the system.
i have at least 2 if not 4 of those battery packs in rough shape but all there. wood was very weathered when I got them.
Wood would have to be replaced to restore them.