What color were early T front floor mats? I always thought they were white or off white, but has anyone seen an original mat other then black? All the original ones i have seen were made of a rubber and canvas material, not just plain rubber. I have an original in my 1910 and my 1913 touring cars and both are black. I hope there are other originals out there, what have you seen?
Good question Kim. I look forward to seeing the evidence for a 1910 and onwards (not 1909).
Here are pictures of my 1910 and 1913 mats
May I ask what data identifies these as original mats please? Both examples are clearly old, however, seeing that both are autos that were used, what confirms that these are not replacements that could date later into the vulcanized rubber production? Please don't construed this as any criticism of these fine parts or challenge to qualified information not presented here...I too am curious.
Every original T floormat I've seen appears to have a canvas backing. As with Kim, I've yet to see an original white mat. Royce has pictured a new '14 several times with what appears to be a white mat. While we are on the subject, I don't believe the cocoa mats they make today were originally that thick.
Scott, it is impossible to know for sure that either of these mats are original to the car. My 13 had a hard life, but it made it this far with all it's original components. It's certainly possible it was replaced but that mat is very old, constructed as the originals were, and shows about the same were as the rest of the car. The 1910 is defiantly a better car. I have documented proof that it was only driven one season. There is only minor wear on any of the parts and the floor mat is again constructed as an original, and is obviously old. There is no reason it would have been replaced. That my best case, I could be wrong on both accounts. This is a quest for knowledge, nothing on any car can be taken as fact. The only way to draw a conclusion is information in the archives or multiple original examples. I always thought all early floor mats were white, don't know why mine are black.
This mat is believed to be original to number 64627. See VF Vol.10, No. 3. It could have been a replacement for the original, but the overall condition of the car as found would indicate otherwise.
These images show the canvas backing:
While I don't know if any of the "off" colors were ever issued with the car a 1960 Hemming's catalog I have sold them in Black, Red, Green and White. No backing is mentioned.
Those mats were made by the M H Martin company as I remember. I have one of those white mats and it is solid rubber, no canvas backing.
Correct Kim. Martin Co.
I have the factory drawing for the floor mat for the early Delivery Car dated 11/28/11 and it is for after the first 500 Delivery Cars. It says "DUCK HEAVILY IMPREGNATED WITH - RUBBER" while the earlier drawing for the Delivery Car stated that it was to be made by cutting the back edge off of the Touring Car front mat. I don't have ready access to that drawing to tell you the amount that was cut off but I do know that my Delivery Car predated the 11/28/11 design revision date for the later mat. That drawing also stated it to be canvas based with heavy rubber impregnation as I recall it. I don't think any of the current repros are made the way the original mats were made in either color or canvas material but the drawings are in fact silent on the Delivery Car with respect to what color the mats were.
My '14 touring has a front mat which is extremely old. I like/want to think that it is original to the car. It is black rubber with the canvas backing.
My two cents worth. Bill
A 1913 Canadian front floor mat found on C1651 . As the car was stored from the mid 1930's I would think this is the factory original mat. It is stamped on both sides and can be reversed for both LHD or RHD cars.
If the mats were made of canvas impregnated with "rubber," wouldn't that be rubber as was used in tires of that time? Since black tires didn't appear until WW-I or thereabouts, I would think that other rubber products before then would have been natural rubber colors such as off-white, tan, red, or gray, as were the tires.
Of course I have no factual information about this; just thinking aloud.
Rubber horn bulb is black so there was black rubber then. These are likely pictures of the same car:
On second thought, they are not the same car. The car in the interior shot has E&J cowl lamps and headlights, while the outdoor car has Brown lamps.
One of the continuing problems with original pictures during the T era is that flash is sometimes so bright as to completely wash out some picture items. Before assuming the mat in the above picture is "white" look at the front edge of the coil box lid which is very whitish. Also I have done all of the research on the floor board trim plates and they were most definitely black enamel yet in this picture they too are pretty darn whitish too. The rubber bulb being black for sure is a valid argument that black rubber existed and common sense would tell you that a white mat would look terrible rather quickly with all the mud that the mat would get on it. I wonder if the very reason that canvas was used was to hold the rubber together so that perhaps the mat could then be made with black rubber that maybe was otherwise too pliable and maybe lacked some strength???? Just guessing. If all the early mats were indeed white - why is it so hard for us to find just one original?
I question whether this may be yet another example where Ford used multiple materials from multiple suppliers. Black rubber was apparently used early on, where it's performance quality was unreliable . A floor mat does not see severe performance demands, and could therefore have accepted a lesser durable material of construction. I cannot imagine white rubber having been preferred due to previously mentioned housekeeping issues.
I have a mat from a 1912 Touring that I owned in 1955. This T was manufactured in late 1911 and was of the very early style 1912 Touring. I sold the car and kept the mat & it has a fabric backing and was white. I colored it black to cover up worn spots. I used it on my 1910 for many years. It is sitting somewhere now in may garage.
This mat came from a very nice unrestored 1909 roadster. I took this picture a long time ago and don't remember much about the floor mat. It looks like it was off white in this picture.
Do you remember if it was canvas type? There is no question in my mind that if it was white when new that it would be plenty faded and dirty and not very white later on. I would think the color of any so-called "White" floor mate would be basically the same color as "White" tires of the era. I would never quibble over how white is white but just wondered if anyone had an honest to goodness white mat that can be verified and now closely examined. It would seem the one you have pictured is certainly a candidate for the award here ha ha. Any idea where it is now? In searching through old BULB HORN magazine looking for a picture of a Delivery Car that was supposed to be in a 1948 edition, there certainly were T parts vendors around that far back and I suspect any floor mat purchased back then would look pretty ratty by now. Tough to know what is original for sure when something is so easy to swap. I do wonder what the basis is in the MTFCI judging guidelines that state that the mats were white on the early cars. We have uncovered some errors in there that had stood for many years as being correct and later disproved by the archival drawings. Aluminum crank handle being used starting in early 1911 comes to mind which was taken as truth by all but was disproved.
John, I don't know about the canvas, that was probably 25 years ago, I didn't know about the canvas than. I still know where the car is, but haven't talked to the owner in a long time.
I cannot with any authority speak to model T Fords on this point. And, when I unfortunately had to sell the 1910 Fuller that I used to have, the proof went with it. However, in 1910, the Fuller Buggy Company used a white rubber floor mat on at least some of the automobiles that they built.
For what it is worth.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Has anyone considered having a chemist analyze the rubber composition?