Sorry, folks, I know this has been covered before, but my talent for searches is woefully limited. I find that the encyclopedia, though it contains a lot of information, doesn't have a separate listing for tires. So my questions are:
1 When did Ford start using treaded tires?
2 When did Ford change from white to gray (or black) tires?
3 Am I right in assuming that they changed from white smooth to white treaded? If so, when?
4 Did Henry ever issue any non-Firestone brands?
Here is an older post with lots of good info, seems rear wheel treaded tires came out of the factory on T's in 1916.
Ford used many suppliers of tires. Firestone's were used, but not always exclusively in production years.
A friend here in Falllbrook, Ca. has an original (Un-Restored) 13 touring with gray, smooth front tires. The rear tires are not gray and may have been changed over the years. The T still has the original rubber floor mats both front and rear. Just one more data point!
In looking through the thread Dan posted above, it occurs to me that the term non-skid may refer to two different things. One is the specific Firestone tire with the words NON SKID used as the tread. This would be the NON SKID tire being reproduced today for exorbitant prices and having a reputation for quick wear. The period Firestone advertising capitalizes the Non-Skid designation. It was common in the T era for brand names to be applied generally. My aunt born in 1897 called any camera a Kodak, whether it was a Kodak or not, and folks of that generation called all tissues Kleenex and all tape bandages Band-Aids. I suspect that other period references to non-skid (lower case) made by Fisk, Republic, and others, means any treaded tires and not necessarily with the words NON SKID used as the tread.
Ford never supplied Firestone non skid tires as original equipment. They used smooth grey Firestone tires in 1915.
My '10 came from the factory with Diamond Tires.
Newbie question - are the smooth grey or white tires durable enough to tour with, or are they for low-mileage show cars only?
Yes, you can tour with smooth tread tires, but wear is greater, especially the narrow 30x3 sizes up front, as the tire casings are rather thin. Not the best choice for 3-4k yearly touring. And without tread, rain and brake control is compromised
But...to me touring means pave and dirt and gravel roads, some higher speeds, and lots of turns and switchbacks so there is some real wear and load on tires on the Model T.
That lets me want to use treaded tires, and four ply ones at that. Best found so far for the clincher tires are the T-Driver. Tread is good, thick and tough.
For the balloon 21" tires, first choice of mine is the lower cost Excelsior, it wears and wears!
30" T-Driver clincher
21" balloon Excelsior
Steve -- I suspect that you're correct about the non-skid (lower case) designation being a generic term for treaded tires. A few years ago in one of these discussions, Dan Treace posted a Firestone ad for NON-SKID tires from 1909. So the name probably was used as a generic term for some time after that (as were Kleenex and Kodak later on).
The search for a synthetic rubber material was in full swing during WW-I. The Rip Van Winkle car (1917) had US Rubber tires which were "whitewalls" with black treads. Apparently at that time the black was added only to the tread area of white- or gray-cased tires.
Although black-treaded tires came about in 1917, surely they cost more than plain gray ones, so as Royce said, Fords probably didn't leave the assembly plants with them. Ford's catalogs of each year's cars showed light-colored tires right on through the 1925 model year. I expect that your friendly local Ford dealer would have been happy to put better tires on your new Ford for a nominal fee.
Agree, most then called their treaded tires "safety tread"
note this one mentions latest style, black tread!
And Firestones wasn't the first tire out with tread, but made it famous by putting their name on the tread, as the first ones in 1909 were made with the whole name....."Firestone Non Skid" running across the tread. Later was shortened to "Non Skid".
ad date Jan 6 1909
Later to just Non Skid
Here is a car that is up to date. We've seen this pic before but, note that it has those Goodrich Safety Tires on the rear at least. The car is a '17 and the photo was taken in '20.
The roadster above appears to have square top sockets so it is later than 1917. Seeing that it has round felloe wheels, I would say it is a 1918.
It's too bad that true 30 inch 30 x 3.5 tires aren't being made today. I don't like the way oversize (larger diameter) 30 x 3.5 tires look, especially on front demountable wheels - too big and fat.
All the tires below are 30 x 3.5 - the first two are oversize which is what is available today regardless of brand and the second two are true, 30 inch tires. Notice the difference.
From left to right:
- 1930s or earlier Wards Riverside "blem" or "second" - slight defect in the bead so the Wards Riverside name was ground off - oversize
- 1950 Wards Riverside -oversize
- 1920s Trailblazer Cord - true 30 inch
- 1920s/1930s Goodyear - true 30 inch
That car has equal length windshield hinges which means it is an early '17.
Hard for me to determine if the hinges are equal length.
Top sockets appear to be square to me and I don't see a leather strap for the pin on the front bow. Maybe the top was replaced or I'm just seeing things.
The car in Dave Wells picture has an electric tail lamp and a dash board. I can see what looks like a Yale switch lock on the coil box. There is a speedometer gear on the front wheel, so the dash board likely was for the speedometer.
It could be a 1918 or 1919 runabout based on what we can see. The windshield hinges do look like the 1915 - 17 style which could simply mean a broken upper windshield was replaced by an earlier one from the local dump. Or make up your own explanation - it is a car that is several years old so anything could have happened.
I'm leaning toward the earlier car with updates theory. That car is really "duded up." Besides the instrument panel, speedometer, electric tail lamp and Yale lock which Royce mentioned, it has upgraded tires, outside brakes, and a clock. The instrument panel looks to be the Stewart aftermarket panel which came with a speedometer, and the clock has been added to it. It also has the giant running board tool box with a padlock.
I think the turtle handles are the rounded ones. I also think that if the windshield hinges were the longer ones, we would be able to see them extending above the top strap.
The top sockets are a tough call, but I tend to agree with Erik that they're the later square ones. I saw a '16 Touring once which had been in storage for 70 years or more, and its owner swore that it was "all original." It had the square top sockets. I don't think it was unusual for the round ones to be replaced with the square ones when the top needed to be replaced.
One detail I like to not be forgotten about early tires, is that there were other colors than white, gray, and black. Very few of these tires survive for a variety of reasons. Rubber recycling in both wars for one, the fact that the natural rubber simply disintegrated for another.
I have personally seen, in private collections, an off-white or gray tread with bright green sidewalls. I have seen gray tread with very red sidewalls, and one all red tire. Most of these were earlier even than for a model T sizes, like 28X2. If I recall correctly, I believe the all red was a 30X3.5. It was hanging on a private collector's garage wall (if you would call that place a garage).
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
A little off topic from the tire discussion but related to the Shorpy photo of Aunt Mary's runabout.
If you are talking about the round object on the dash board possibly being a clock, if we go to the original Shorpy site at http://www.shorpy.com/node/4432?size=_original and zoom in we see it as below:
I believe that round object is one of the “dimmer” switches designed to keep the magneto headlamps that were wired in series from burning out. Sample shown below but it could be a different make or design:
Note I agree with Eric and others that the car does have the rectangular top irons – zoomed in image is shown below:
I also agree the car has the equal length windshield hinges. Below is Tom Mullin’s 1915 equal length windshield hinges for comparison.
Below is the Shorpy photo of the hinges:
Below is an unequal length mid-1917 to 1922 hinge:
Note in addition to the hinge being higher than the line between the two windshield panes, the lower part of the hinge is also longer than the lower part of the earlier style hinge.
And we from the Shorpy site the poster mentions his Aunt passed away in 1922 so it is before then. The license plate appears to be a 1920 year. So I agree with Royce – a two or three year old car.
Note the MTFCI Judging Guidelines as well as Bruce’s (R.I.P.) book both agree that a “typical” 1917 would NOT have the rectangular top irons. They also both agree that a typical 1918 or later would not have the equal length windshield hinges.
We know the car has been upgraded – i.e. it did not leave the factory with the external rear brakes. It did not leave the factory with a Yale or similar lock on the front of the coil box switch. And if the coil box originally came with the car we know the electric tail lamp was added. Why? Because the switch on the coil box was used on the cars without a starter (ref page 235 Bruce’s book) and those came with an oil tail lamp.
So it appears we either have a non-typical Model T that was produced with the equal length windshield hinges and the rectangular top bows or more likely a modified T with either the top or the windshield hinges or both being replaces sometime along the way. If dated by the windshield hinges – first half of the 1917 model year. If dated by the top irons 1918 model year (or a little later).
Now – back to the tire discussion.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Hap -- I believe you're right about the dimmer device. You can see the lever and knob in your blown-up picture. And yes, that's what I thought was a clock before.
I still think it might be a Stewart dash, due to the shallow V-shaped bottom edge. Since it's a '17 or '18 car, it would not have come with a dash, and since it's a heavily-accessorized car it likely would have the added dash with speedometer.